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Theodore Wafer will Stand Trial for Death of Renisha McBride

Theodore Wafer listens to his attorney Cheryl Carpenter while appearing at his preliminary examination.

By Kate Abbey-Lambertz

A judge ruled that the man who is accused of killing an unarmed Detroit teen on his front porch has been ordered to stand trial.

Judge David Turfe, of the 20th District Court in Dearborn Heights, Mich., bound Theodore Paul Wafer over to trial after an initial hearing. Wafer, 54, is charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and a related felony firearm charge in the death of 19-year-old Renisha McBride.

“This court recognizes we can’t automatically penalize one for making a bad decision when pressed to react quickly,” Turfe said. “But at the same time, 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.”

Renisha McBride was killed Nov. 2 in Dearborn Heights after 4 a.m. Around 1 a.m., she crashed into a parked car in Detroit a half-mile away. A witness who spoke to McBride after her accident said she seemed “discombobulated” and didn’t know where she was, but kept saying she wanted to go home. The bystander, Carmen Beasley, said when she went into her house to call 911 for a second time, McBride walked away.

It’s unclear what McBride did after she left the scene of the accident. Less than four hours later, she was shot on Wafer’s porch with a shotgun through a locked screen door.

During the hearing, the prosecution played the 911 call in which Wafer said he just shot a woman on his front porch. The medical examiner who performed McBride’s autopsy testified that the shotgun shot to her face would have killed her instantly.

“There is no question that it is the defendant is this case that caused the death of Renisha McBride,” Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Danielle Hagaman-Clark said.

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