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Porch shooter's lawyer says he feared for his life

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 23, 2014 at 4:39 pm •  Published: July 23, 2014
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DETROIT (AP) — A suburban Detroit man who killed an unarmed woman on his porch was rocked out of sleep by a series of "boom, boom, boom" pounding sounds outside his home, causing him to grab a shotgun, open the front door and fire, a defense lawyer told jurors during opening statements Wednesday.

Theodore Wafer is on trial and claiming self-defense in the death last year of Renisha McBride, 19, in Dearborn Heights. But prosecutors have charged the 55-year-old with second-degree murder, saying there was no reason to use deadly force instead of calling police.

Defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter repeatedly told jurors that they need to put themselves in Wafer's shoes. Raising and lowering her voice for dramatic effect, she portrayed him as a man under siege in his own home around 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 2.

Wafer and McBride didn't know each other. She ended up on his porch 3 ½ hours after crashing her car into a parked car about a half-mile away in Detroit. An autopsy found her blood-alcohol level was about 0.22, which is nearly three times above Michigan's legal limit for driving.

Asleep in his recliner, Wafer heard pounding at a side door — "boom, boom, boom, boom" — Carpenter said. He dropped to the floor, couldn't find his cellphone and then heard more pounding at the front door, she added.

"His heart is coming out of his chest. ... There's a shadowy figure coming off the porch and going to the side of the house. He thinks it's not one person; it's two or more people," Carpenter told the jury.

The banging continued and was so severe that the "floor was shaking, the picture window was rattling," she said, so Wafer eventually loaded his shotgun, opened the front door and fired, hitting McBride in the face.

Carpenter didn't tell the jury whether Wafer will testify or whether his version of events will be relayed during the testimony of police officers who interviewed him extensively after the shooting.

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