A suburban Detroit man who shot and killed a teenage girl on his front porch as she sought help after a car wreck has been sentenced to 17 years behind bars.
Theodore Wafer was convicted of second-degree murder in the Nov. 2 death of 19-year-old Renisha McBride. McBride was unarmed at the time.
Before he was sentenced, the Dearborn Heights man apologized to her family, saying he killed a woman who was “too young to leave this world.”
“I will carry that guilt and sorrow forever,” said Wafer, often pausing to control his emotions.
Wafer was convicted last month after a nine-day trial that centered on whether the 55-year-old had a reasonable and honest belief that he was in peril. He testified that he was awakened by pounding on his doors and shot McBride because he feared for his life. A jury rejected his claim of self-defense.
Prosecutors recommended at least 17 years in prison for Wafer, the low end of the guidelines, including two years for unlawful use of a gun. Defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter asked for as few as six years in prison.
On account of Wafer’s age, Carpenter argued that anything more than 10 years in prison would be a “life sentence.” The judge declined to go below the guidelines.
Why McBride ended up at Wafer’s home early that morning remains unclear. She had crashed her car into a parked car about a half-mile away in Detroit around 1 a.m. An autopsy found she was intoxicated.
The judge concluded that McBride had made “some terrible choices” but that she didn’t deserve to die.
Wafer, who was convicted of murder, manslaughter and a gun-related charge on Aug. 7, faces a maximum sentence of 32 years in prison, although he’ll be eligible for parole after serving 17.
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