Homeowner faces second-degree murder charge in Renisha McBride's death

4:27 PM, Nov 15, 2013   |    comments
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(Detroit Free Press) -- A Dearborn Heights homeowner is being charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old woman on his porch earlier this month.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced this morning that Theodore Wafer, 54, also is being charged with manslaughter and possession of a firearm during the attempted commission or commission of a felony. She said Wafer will be asked to turn himself in and is expected to be arraigned at 2 p.m. in Dearborn Heights' 20th District Court before Judge Mark J. Plawecki.

Renisha McBride, 19, was shot in the face on Nov. 2 by a 54-year-old man who told police he thought someone was breaking into his home and accidentally fired his 12-gauge shotgun.

Worthy said there was no evidence of forced entry on Wafer's home. She said it is alleged that McBride was shot after knocking on the locked front screen door. She said evidence suggests Wafer opened the front door before he fired through the closed and locked screen door.

Worthy said someone who claims lawful self-defense must have an honest and reasonable belief of imminent death or great bodily harm for themselves or another person.

"We do not believe he acted in lawful self-defense," Worthy said of Wafer.

Civil rights leaders have called for a thorough investigation of the case, which has garnered national attention. McBride's family members have said they believe the 19-year-old went to the home in Dearborn Heights seeking help and was racially profiled.

Worthy said race did not play a role in making a charging decision.

"We make our decisions based on the facts and the evidence," she said.

Attorney Gerald Thurswell, who represents McBride's family, has said he plans to hold a news conference this afternoon at his Southfield office.

A toxicology report released by the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office on Thursday showed McBride was highly intoxicated when she was fatally shot. McBride's blood alcohol level was 0.218%, and marijuana was detected in her system, according to the toxicology report released by the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office.

Under Michigan law, the legal limit for anyone age 21 or over to be considered drunken driving is 0.08%. Drivers under age 21 are prohibited from having a blood alcohol level of 0.02% or more, according to the Michigan Secretary of State.

According to police, McBride's car struck a parked vehicle in Detroit more than two hours before she was shot. Police said that just before 1 a.m. Nov. 2, a witness called 911 to say a woman was speeding down the street in the area of Bramell and Majestic, hit a parked vehicle, got out of her car and left.

She later returned to the scene, according to a second 911 call, but was gone when police arrived. That caller told police the woman appeared to be intoxicated.

It's unclear where she was between the time that she left the scene and ended up on the homeowner's porch.

Contact Gina Damron: 313-223-4526 or gdamron@freepress.com

Detroit Free Press

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