Detroit-area porch shooting case goes to jury - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Detroit-area porch shooting case goes to jury

Posted: Updated:
Theodore Wafer, right, listens during closing arguments of his trial Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 in Detroit. (AP) Theodore Wafer, right, listens during closing arguments of his trial Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 in Detroit. (AP)

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.

"He armed himself. He was getting attacked," defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter said in her closing argument. "Put yourselves in his shoes at 4:30 in the morning."

But another prosecutor, Athina Siringas, said a murder conviction fits the case.

Wafer "decided to be judge, jury and executioner," she said in a rebuttal argument.

Earlier this week, Wafer testified that he was terrified by the pounding on his house. He had been sleeping in a recliner and said he couldn't immediately find his phone to call police.

In the aftermath of the shooting, some wondered whether race was a factor because Wafer is white and McBride was black. Race hasn't been an issue at trial, although the prosecutor noted that McBride was "African-American" while cross-examining Wafer on Tuesday.

In her closing remarks, Carpenter said race isn't a factor for the jury. She said Wafer was just a homeowner who was aware of crime in a neighborhood that borders Detroit and wanted to protect himself.

"In the heat of the moment our instincts are to survive," she said. "He did not know it was a 19-year-old who got in a car crash at 1 a.m. What he knew was someone was trying to get in. It's not for a good reason — it's to hurt me."

___

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

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Volunteer fire department accused of stealing water

    Volunteer fire department accused of stealing water

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 11:10 PM EDT2014-09-17 03:10:58 GMT
    The San Pasqual Volunteer Fire Department has been dissolved amid allegations of firefighters stealing water. 
    The San Pasqual Volunteer Fire Department has been dissolved amid allegations of firefighters stealing water. 
  • Minimum wage increase opponents turn in 56K petition signatures

    Minimum wage increase opponents turn in 56K petition signatures

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 11:10 PM EDT2014-09-17 03:10:22 GMT
    Opponents of an incremental increase in the minimum wage in San Diego said Tuesday they turned in around 56,000 petition signatures to the county Registrar of Voters Office. 
    Opponents of an incremental increase in the minimum wage in San Diego said Tuesday they turned in around 56,000 petition signatures to the county Registrar of Voters Office. 
  • Dozens of dogs rescued from hot cars

    Dozens of dogs rescued from hot cars

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 10:54 PM EDT2014-09-17 02:54:33 GMT
    As we humans continue to deal with this heat wave, County Animal Services is reminding you to watch out for your dogs and not leave them alone in cars. 
    As we humans continue to deal with this heat wave, County Animal Services is reminding you to watch out for your dogs and not leave them alone in cars. 
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.