Renisha McBride’s Killer Charged With Second-Degree Murder And Manslaughter
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced at a news conference earlier today that 54-year-old Theodore Wafer of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, will be charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and felonious use of a firearm for the shooting death of 19-year-old Renisha McBride, a black Detroit woman who is believed to have been seeking help following a car accident.
Wafer insists his shotgun discharged accidentally and that, having mistook McBride for an intruder, he was acting in self-defense.
However, Worthy pointed out that there were no signs of forced entry and that Wafer had opened his front door before firing at McBride through a locked screen door.
“There is no duty to retreat when you’re in your own house, but someone who claims self-defense must have an honest and reasonable belief of imminent death or imminent rape or bodily harm,” Worthy told reports. Based on the evidence, “We do not believe [Wafer] acted in lawful self-defense,” she said.
It remains unclear whether Wafer called the police immediately after shooting McBride, an aspect of the case Worthy declined to comment on, suggesting it may still be under investigation. In a released recording of the 911 dispatch, Wafer can be heard telling the dispatcher, “I just shot somebody on my front porch with a shotgun banging on my door.”
At his arraignment later in the day, bond was set at $250,000 and he was ordered to return to court on December 18. Wafer faces a possible sentence of life in prison if convicted.
I’m not a fan of locking people up for life. Instead, I wish the justice system gave the same benefit of the doubt afforded to a white man like Wafer to the hundreds of thousands of black and brown folks warehoused in US prisons. It’s hard to believe that a black man could go two weeks before being arrested for shooting an unarmed white girl in the face. But that’s a topic for another post.
On a side note, I find it strange that the authorities withheld the shooter’s identity for nearly two weeks, especially given that McBride’s toxicology report, showing her blood alcohol level was more than double the legal driving limit, was made public before the identify of her killer. Obviously, whether or not McBride had been drinking should have no bearing on the outcome of the trial. But that won’t stop the defense from using it to paint her as somehow deserving of her fate.