Detroit man who was sentenced to 17 years has ruling upheld

Supreme Court rules you can't be punished twice for the same homicide

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A Detroit-area man who said he feared for his life when he fatally shot a young woman on his porch in 2013 was given the same 17-year prison sentence Wednesday at a new hearing ordered by the Michigan Supreme Court.

Ted Wafer was convicted of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of Renisha McBride in Dearborn Heights, Michigan.

But about halfway through Wafer's prison term, the Supreme Court in February unanimously threw out the manslaughter conviction, saying he couldn't be punished twice for the same homicide.

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Wayne County Judge Dana Hathaway said the prison sentence won't change: 15 years for second-degree murder, plus two years for using a gun during a crime, which Wafer has already served. She noted that the murder sentence still was within the scoring guidelines.

A Detroit man who was convicted of second-degree manslaughter will continue to serve his 17-year sentence.

A Detroit man who was convicted of second-degree manslaughter will continue to serve his 17-year sentence.

Wafer, 63, gets credit for roughly eight years in custody, making him eligible for parole in 2031.

Wafer has been a "model prisoner" but the "facts remain the same," the judge said.

"You cannot murder someone for simply knocking on your door in the middle of the night. You had choices," Hathaway said.

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Wafer opened his front door and shot McBride, 19, through a screen door before dawn. He said he was awakened by pounding and feared for his life, though he didn’t call police first. A jury rejected his self-defense claim.

Prosecutors speculated that McBride, who was drunk and had crashed her car hours earlier, might have been confused when she arrived on Wafer’s porch.

"I remain terribly sorry," Wafer said Wednesday.

Wafer is white and McBride was Black; some people wondered in the aftermath of the shooting whether race was a factor, likening it to the 2012 shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. But race was hardly mentioned during Wafer's trial in 2014.

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"Holidays are no longer holidays because we have no joy," McBride's mother, Monica McBride, said in court. "Every day is a living nightmare that we can’t and won’t wake up from."