Man who shot Renisha McBride on porch will face murder trial

Man who shot Renisha McBride on porch will face murder trial

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Renisha McBride Renisha McBride
Theodore Wafer holds his head in court not long before a judge orders him to stand trial for murder. Theodore Wafer holds his head in court not long before a judge orders him to stand trial for murder.
The family of Renisha McBride hugs outside a Dearborn Heights courtroom Thursday. (Credit: Amy Lange) The family of Renisha McBride hugs outside a Dearborn Heights courtroom Thursday. (Credit: Amy Lange)

A Dearborn Heights man who fatally shot a woman on his porch will stand trial, a judge said Thursday, rejecting a self-defense argument for the killer's "bad choice."

Renisha's McBride's parents and loved ones embrace upon hearing the judge's ruling.

"Thank you, God. The right decision has been made and that's all we wanted - is thank you, Jesus," says Bernita Spinks, McBride's aunt.

"People can't walk up and ask for help and end up dead," says Ron Scott, a spokesperson for McBride's family.

The 54-year-old man is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in the November 2nd death of McBride, the 19 year old who showed up knocking on his door in the middle of the night after she'd been in a car accident. Wafer didn't call 911before he answered the door with a shotgun.

"Bringing a shotgun to the door infers the intent to use or do great bodily harm. This is the very nature of what a shotgun is used for," said Judge David Turfe in court.

The judge heard testimony that McBride was drunk and high on marijuana when she crashed her car a few blocks from Wafer's home. The testimony also stated she wandered away from the car and, a few hours later, appeared on Wafer's porch. Defense attorneys say he feared for his life and thought someone was breaking in when he fired through the front screen door in the early morning darkness.

"We can't allow one to use the bad decision as a shield to criminal prosecution. The defendant came to the door with a shotgun. His first thought was to bring the gun - not call for help or not answer the door," Judge Turfe continued.

"We don't believe intent was proven by the prosecution in this case and we really look forward to trial where you will get all of the evidence," says Cheryl Carpenter, Wafer's attorney. Defense attorneys argued there was no malice, or no intent to kill on the part of Wafer. They had tried to show a videotaped interview of police questioning Wafer about the shooting but the judge said no.

Defense attorneys will not say whether or not Wafer will take the stand at trial but they say they will be fighting to show that video that was not admissible here.

"We will do everything we can to get that statement in. There's a reason the prosecution wants to keep it out and that will become evident at the trial," says Mack Carpenter, Wafer's attorney.

Wafer remains free on bond and is due in court in Detroit in January.

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