Trial begins for man who allegedly shot young woman on his porch

By Frances Burns  |  July 23, 2014 at 5:17 PM
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DETROIT, July 23 (UPI) -- Lawyers gave their opening statements Wednesday in the trial of a Detroit-area man who allegedly shot a young woman who banged on his door after a drunken car crash.

Theodore Wafer, 55, of Dearborn Heights could be sentenced to life in prison if he is convicted of the second-degree murder of Renisha McBride, 19. He is also charged with manslaughter and felony use of a firearm.

Wafer's lawyer, Cheryl Carpenter, said he was sleeping on a recliner in his living room when McBride woke him by banging on the door at about 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 2. She said Wafer tried to find his cell phone and then loaded his shotgun.

"It's not a rushed decision," Carpenter said. "It's not his first reaction to this."

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Danielle Hagaman-Clark told jurors she does not need to show that Wafer intended to kill McBride.

"He created the circumstances to cause death or great bodily harm," she said.

The first prosecution witnesses said McBride had been drinking and using marijuana in the hours before she was killed. She had a blood-alcohol level about three times the legal limit and investigators said she crashed her car just over the city line in Detroit some time before she showed up on Wafer's porch.

The shooting aggravated racial tensions in Detroit because McBride was black and Wafer is white.

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