Home / National News / Jury to Decide Whether Michigan 'Porch Shooting' Was Self-Defense


(DETROIT) — Where Renisha McBride was before she was fatally shot on a Detroit man’s porch — and the screen door through which the fatal bullet was apparently fired — will be crucial evidence in the man’s murder trial.

Theodore Wafer, 54, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of McBride, 19, after she showed up on his porch in the early morning of Nov. 2, 2013.

Wafer’s defense attorney said Wednesday during opening arguments that his client had “never been this scared in his life, ever” after hearing a series of booms, and then seeing a shadowy figure outside his home.

“He hears metal breaking on his front door. Ted hears it. He’s thinking, ‘They’re coming in. They’re breaking into my house,'” defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter said.

The prosecution, however, argued that McBride had played a drinking game with her friend earlier that night, crashed her car and may have been seeking medical help for a cut on her head.

The defense said there was damage to Wafer’s screen door — damage caused by a bullet, and not by McBride or someone else trying to break-in to Wafer’s home.

During testimony, Monica McBride, the teen’s mother, broke down on the stand as she identified her daughter’s photo and explained how she found her watching television when she came home from work on the last night of her life. McBride also said that when her daughter was drunk, she would often fall asleep.

McBride told the jury she told her daughter she was not allowed to leave the house because she had stayed home all day but hadn’t finished her chores.

An autopsy released by the Office of the Wayne County Medical Examiner ruled that McBride died of a large gunshot wound to the face. The shot that killed McBride showed “no evidence of close range discharge,” according to the report.

In a 911 call released by police, Wafer could be heard saying: “Uh yes … I just shot somebody on my front porch. With a shot gun. Banging on my door.”

When the police asked him what city he was in, Wafer said thank you, and hung up.

Under a 2006 Michigan self-defense law, a homeowner has the right to use force during a break-in. Otherwise, a person must prove his or her life was in danger.

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