Sign in to comment!

Menu
Home

Homicide

Detroit-area man who shot woman on porch convicted of murder after jury rejects self-defense

  • Porch Shooting-1.jpg

    Monica McBride, mother of Renisha McBride, cries during the reading of verdict of guilty of of second-degree murder and manslaughter for Theodore Wafer, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 in Detroit. Walter Ray Simmons, Renisha's father, is at right. Wafer, 55, shot Renisha McBride through a screen door on Nov. 2, hours after she crashed into a parked car a half-mile from his house. The jury convicted Wafer of second-degree murder and manslaughter after deliberating for about eight hours over two days. (AP Photo/The Detroit News, Clarence Tabb Jr.) (The Associated Press)

  • Porch Shooting-2.jpg

    Monica McBride, mother of Renisha McBride cries during the reading of verdict of guilty of of second-degree murder and manslaughter for Theodore Wafer, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 in Detroit. Walter Ray Simmons, Renisha's father, is at right. Wafer, 55, shot Renisha McBride through a screen door on Nov. 2, hours after she crashed into a parked car a half-mile from his house. The jury convicted Wafer of second-degree murder and manslaughter after deliberating for about eight hours over two days. (AP Photo/The Detroit News, Clarence Tabb Jr.) (The Associated Press)

  • Porch Shooting-3.jpg

    Theodore Wafer stares straight ahead after being convicted of second-degree murder and manslaughter as his attorney Cheryl Carpenter comforts him Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 in Detroit. Wafer, 55, shot Renisha McBride through a screen door on Nov. 2, hours after she crashed into a parked car a half-mile from his house. The jury convicted Wafer of second-degree murder and manslaughter after deliberating for about eight hours over two days. (AP Photo/The Detroit News, Clarence Tabb Jr.) (The Associated Press)

  • Porch Shooting-4.jpg

    FILE - This undated file photo shows the cover of a funeral program showing 19-year-old Renisha McBride from a service in Detroit. On Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, a Wayne County Circuit Court jury convicted Theodore Wafer, 55, of second-degree murder for killing McBride with a shotgun on the porch of his house in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn on Nov. 2, 2013. He said he feared for his life when he heard banging on his doors. Prosecutors said he should have called 911, rather than firing his weapon. (AP Photo/Detroit News, File) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT (The Associated Press)

  • Porch Shooting-5.jpg

    Bernita Spinks, aunt of slaying victim Renisha McBride, speaks to reporters outside the Wayne County Circuit Court building in Detroit, on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, after a jury found Theodore Wafer guilty of second-degree murder in the shotgun death of McBride, 19. Wafer shot McBride on Nov. 2, 2013, his porch in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn Heights after she banged on his door in the middle of the night. Spings said the killing showed the danger of the thoughtless use of firearms and didn’t reflect any racial motive by the white homeowner. Spinks said people need to use “the right judgment” if they are going to have guns in their homes. (AP Photo/David N. Goodman) (The Associated Press)

A suburban Detroit man who said he fatally shot an unarmed woman on his porch out of fear prompted by relentless early morning pounding on his doors faces up to life in prison after jurors rejected his claim of self-defense.

Theodore Wafer was convicted Thursday of second-degree murder after a nine-day trial that centered on whether the 55-year-old had a reasonable and honest belief that his safety was in peril.

"I don't know why this was brought to me," Wafer testified this week. "I didn't go out looking for this."

No one knows why Renisha McBride ended up at Wafer's Dearborn Heights home about 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 2, though prosecutors speculated the 19-year-old may have been seeking help. She had been out with a friend hours earlier before crashing her car in Detroit around 1 a.m. and an autopsy found she was extremely drunk.

Wafer opened the front door and shot McBride in the face, firing through a screen door while she stood on the other side. He first suggested to police that it was an accident but later admitted to intentionally pulling the trigger.

"This was a monster that killed her. All he had to do was call 911," instead of shooting, said McBride's aunt, Bernita Spinks.

The jury convicted Wafer of murder, manslaughter and a gun-related charge after deliberating eight hours over two days. He faces up to life in prison when he returns to court on Aug. 25 but would be eligible for parole after serving whatever minimum sentence is ordered.

The judge revoked Wafer's bond and ordered him to jail over the objections of defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter.

"He's not going to go on a rampage. ... He's a quiet, introverted man," Carpenter said.

McBride's mother, Monica McBride, cried and clasped her hands when the verdict was announced. She gave long hugs to prosecutors as the courtroom emptied.

"We learned he was a cold-blooded killer," McBride's father, Walter Simmons, told reporters.

"People have a right to bear their arms and everything else, but you have to do it with reason and responsibility," Simmons said. "Not just murder somebody when it's not justified."

Jurors declined to comment on the verdict. Carpenter, did, too. She had urged jurors to put themselves in Wafer's shoes in the wee hours last fall when he said he heard "unbelievable" pounding at his front and side doors.

"I didn't know it was a teenager. In that split second, I didn't know what's coming next," Wafer testified.

Several trial witnesses called by prosecutors described their encounter with McBride after she crashed her car into a parked car a half-mile from Wafer's home. They suspected she had been drinking, but she walked away before an ambulance arrived to treat her head injury.

Witnesses said she talked about just wanting to go home — a key point repeatedly emphasized by prosecutors as they tried to counter the defense team's portrayal of McBride as a reckless woman.

McBride "is dead, not because she was drunk. Not because she crashed her car," prosecutor Athina Siringas said during closing arguments. "But because she had the misfortune of maybe being confused of where she was. ... He wanted a confrontation. That's what this was all about."

Wafer had told police that he was sensitive to crime, especially after his vehicle was hit with paintballs.

Wafer is white and McBride was black, and some wondered in the aftermath of the shooting whether race may have been a factor, likening it to the shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. But the race angle was hardly mentioned at trial.

"It's about people with guns who don't use the right judgment before they pick them up," Spinks said.

___

Associated Press writer David N. Goodman contributed to this report.

___

Follow Ed White at http://twitter.com/edwhiteap

Bank Rates

Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
30 Y Fixed Graph 3.98% up 3.95%  
15 Y Fixed Graph 3.05% -- 3.05%  
30 Y Fixed Jumbo Graph 4.23% dw 4.53%  
5/1 ARM Graph 3.32% dw 3.71%  
5/1 Jumbo ARM Graph 3.14% dw 3.38%  
Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
$30K HELOC Graph 4.32% up 4.31%  
$50K HELOC Graph 4.06% -- 4.06%  
$30K Loan Graph 5.05% -- 5.05%  
$50K Loan Graph 4.48% dw 4.49%  
$75K Loan Graph 4.50% dw 4.51%  
Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
36 M New Graph 2.94% -- 2.94%  
36 M Used Graph 3.49% up 3.46%  
48 M New Graph 3.22% -- 3.22%  
48 M Used Graph 3.04% -- 3.04%  
60 M New Graph 3.24% -- 3.24%  
Loan Type Graph Yield +/- Last Week
6 month Graph 0.39% up 0.38%  
1 yr Graph 0.71% up 0.71%  
5 yr Graph 1.50% -- 1.50%  

See the latest updates on the hottest midterm races from Fox News

Full Elections Coverage →

Keep up with all the 2014 races in

Coverage →