Detroit-area porch shooting case goes to jury

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 6, 2014 at 4:15 pm •  Published: August 6, 2014
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DETROIT (AP) — A suburban Detroit homeowner who opened his front door and blasted an unarmed woman on his porch should have called 911 instead of becoming "judge, jury and executioner," a prosecutor said Wednesday in urging jurors to convict him of second-degree murder.

Prosecutors in their closing arguments repeatedly emphasized that Theodore Wafer had easier options than to directly confront 19-year-old Renisha McBride when she showed up drunk on his porch before dawn on Nov. 2. Several hours earlier, she had crashed her car into a parked car on a Detroit street about a half-mile from Wafer's house in Dearborn Heights.

Wafer, 55, said he shot McBride in self-defense. He said he awoke to an "unbelievable" pounding on his doors and feared for his life when he fired through a screen door as someone rushed from the side of the porch.

He shot McBride in the face, killing her.

"She was a young girl looking for help," prosecutor Patrick Muscat told jurors. "What he did had to be immediately necessary and it wasn't. It was reckless. It was negligent. I don't know how to describe it. It was horrific.

"How about shutting the door? ... How about calling 911?" Muscat said. "No, what he does is he engages. He creates the confrontation."

Jurors went home after deliberating about three hours Wednesday. They asked to look at the clips that held the screen, but Judge Dana Hathaway said no because the clips weren't admitted as evidence.

Wafer, an airport maintenance worker who lives alone, is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. The jury could convict him of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter or clear Wafer of all charges if it believes had a "reasonable and honest" belief that his life was at risk, even if he was wrong.

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