A jury convicted a suburban Detroit man of second-degree murder and manslaughter on Thursday in the killing of a 19-year-old unarmed woman who sought help after a car wreck on his porch last year.
Theodore Wafer claimed self-defense and said that he feared for his life.
Theodore Wafer shot Renisha McBride through a screen door on Nov. 2, hours after she crashed into a parked car a half-mile from his house. No one knows why she ended up at the Dearborn Heights home, although prosecutors speculated that the 19-year-old woman may have been seeking help.
“She just wanted to go home,” prosecutor Patrick Muscat said during closing arguments, holding the shotgun Wafer used to kill McBride. “She ended up in the morgue with bullets in her head and in her brain because the defendant picked up this shotgun, released this safety, raised it at her, pulled the trigger and blew her face off.”
The Wayne County jury heard eight days of testimony before beginning deliberations. Wafer, 55, could face up to life in prison with the possibility of parole, but it is likely his actual sentence will be much shorter.
Wafer, an airport maintenance employee who lives alone, said he was roused out of sleep around 4:30 a.m. by pounding at his front and side doors. He testified that the noises were “unbelievable.”
“I wasn’t going to cower in my house,” Wafer said.
He said he thought there could have been more than one person outside of his 1,100-square-foot home near the Detroit-Dearborn Heights border. Wafer said he pulled the trigger “to defend myself. It was them or me.”
His attorney Cheryl Carpenter insisted that Wafer “was getting attacked” and urged jurors to “put [their selves] in his shoes at 4:30 in the morning.”
But prosecutors said Wafer could have stayed safely in his home and called police instead of confronting McBride.
The case made national headlines with many comparing it to the Trayvon Martin incident.
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