Detroit-area homeowner guilty of killing unarmed woman who knocked on his door

A prosecutor said that Theodore Wafer, who has been convicted of murder, wanted a "confrontation" when he shot Renisha McBride, 19.

By Frances Burns

DETROIT, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- A Detroit-area homeowner faces life in prison after being convicted Thursday of killing an unarmed woman who knocked on his door after a drunken car crash.

A Wayne County jury that began deliberations Wednesday afternoon returned a verdict a day later. Theodore Wafer, 55, of Dearborn Heights, was found guilty of second-degree murder, manslaughter and a firearms charge.


Investigators said that Renisha McBride, 19, of Detroit had been drinking and using marijuana before she got into a one-car crash near Wafer's home. About three hours later, at 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 1, she banged on his door, apparently seeking help.

In his closing argument Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney Pat Muscat said Wafer was looking for a "confrontation" because young people in the neighborhood had thrown paintballs at this car in October. Wafer made no attempt to find out who was actually at his door and whether there was any threat before opening fire with his shotgun, Muscat said.

"He wanted the neighborhood kids to leave him alone. He had had enough of the paint balls," Muscat said.


Wafer's lawyer, Cheryl Carpenter, argued that he had been wakened from a sound sleep by the pounding and was scared and disoriented.

On the witness stand, Wafer wept as he said that the killing was devastating. But he defended his actions.

"This poor girl. She had her whole life in front of her -- I took that from her," he said.

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