Self Defense Argument Rejected in Fatal Porch Shooting Case

The Detroit man who argued self defense for shooting and killing an unarmed teen on his front porch was convicted of second-degree murder by a Wayne County jury Thursday, August 7.

Theodore Wafer, a 55-year-old airport worker, heard banging on his front door early in the morning on Nov. 2. He opened the front door of his home and shot Renisha McBride through the locked screen door, killing the 19-year-old student.

Wafer testified saying that he shot McBride in self defense because he feared a break in and was scared for his life, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why McBride ended up at Wafer’s home that night is still not clear, however prosecutors claim she walked a half mile to his home seeking help after a car accident.

Earlier that night, after consuming alcohol and using marijuana, McBride drove her car into a parked vehicle in Detroit. She was injured at the time, bleeding, disoriented and possibly suffering from concussions, but witnesses said she refused help after the incident, USA Today reports.

Initially, this case sparked racial concerns in Detroit communities where racial tension can be strong, and comparisons were drawn between the McBride and Trayvon Martin cases as both involved unarmed, black teens who were each killed by white men.

Unlike the Trayvon Martin case however, the charges were filed against the defendant within two weeks of McBride’s death and racial concerns were put to rest.

“That could have been anybody’s kid,” said Walter Simmons, McBride’s father, in response to race being a factor in his daughter’s death.

“I think he was ready for whoever came to his door,” Simmons said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Michigan’s gun laws, such as the Castle Doctrine Law states in short that the use of deadly force may be accepted as an act of self-defense as long as an honest and reasonable belief that death, great bodily harm that may lead to death or sexual assault may result to himself or herself or another individual during a break in, home or business invasion, an unlawful occupation or an attempt to remove individuals from their homes or vehicles, according to the state’s Public Act 311 of 2006.

In other words, residents have the right to protect their homes, businesses and vehicles using firearms, but the severity of the force used must match the potential threat.

A jury of five women and seven men did not believe that circumstances between McBride and Wafer granted Wafer the right to use deadly force against McBride, and they did not accept his self defense claims.

Wafer was convicted of second-degree murder, as well as separate charges of manslaughter and using a firearm to commit a felony, the Wall Street Journal said.

Monica McBride, Renisha’s mother, said that her daughter was not a violent person and that Wafer should have called 911 for assistance when he was awoken.

The sentencing will take place August 25. Wafer could face life in prison, according USA Today.

Make sure you know and understand Arizona’s self defense and violent crime rights. The expert criminal law attorneys at Corso Law Group can help.

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