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Homeowner who shot Renisha McBride will go on trial for murder

Family photo

The Dearborn Heights homeowner who shot an unarmed teenager on his front porch has been bound over for trial.

Theodore Wafer will face trial for second-degree murder, manslaughter, and a felony firearms charge in 19-year-old Renisha McBride’s death.

Dearborn Heights judge David Turfe ruled Thursday the case can proceed after nearly two days of expert and witness testimony.

Witnesses testified that McBride seemed disoriented and confused after crashing her car in Detroit in the very early morning hours of November 2nd.

One witness testified that McBride appeared bloodied and injured, holding her head and leaving and returning to the scene multiple times before disappearing on foot.

Wafer shot McBride several hours later, after she “banged on [his] front door,” according to Wafer’s 911 call. She died of a single gun blast to the head. Her toxicology report showed significant amounts of alcohol and marijuana.

Physical evidence presented during the preliminary exam indicates Wafer shot her through his screen door.

Wafer’s lawyers suggested in court that his gun may have gone off accidentally. But a Michigan State Police firearms expert also testified it would have been difficult for his Mossberg shotgun to have discharged accidentally—but acknowledged it was at least theoretically possible.

In binding Turfe over for trial, Judge Turfe admonished Wafer making for a “bad choice” opening the door with his gun, and that he “chose to shoot” rather than just staying inside or calling police.

Wafer’s lawyers say the second-degree murder charge is unjustified, because there’s no proof he intended to kill McBride. They say Michigan’s self-defense act applies because he was in fear because McBride was banging on his door.

Wafer is set to be arraigned in Wayne County Circuit Court January 15th.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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