The Detroit man charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and weapons felony firearm for killing a 19-year-old woman on his porch was found guilty on all counts Thursday.
Theodore Wafer, 55, shot Renisha McBride on Nov. 2 when she knocked on his doors after a car crash, where it was determined that she had been drinking.
McBride's mother, Monica McBride, shook back and forth after the verdict was read, while some of her other family members wept. "She was a beautiful young lady. She had things going for her," McBride's father, Walter Simmons, said. The prosecutors “had the facts, they had the evidence, they did their job, and they did it well. And we appreciate it."
The jury of seven women and five men deliberated for less than ten hours over two days after closing arguments were heard Wednesday. The prosecution argued that Wafer fired his shotgun because he was angry and looking for a confrontation. The defense contended that the homeowner feared for his life when he heard pounding on his doors in the middle of the night. McBride's family has maintained that the teen was looking for help after the crash. "It was senseless, all he had to do was call 911," Monica McBride said Thursday.
The trial drew comparisons to the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case because Wafer is white and McBride was black, but the subject of race was rarely broached in the courtroom. Wafer's defense lawyer said Wednesday that her client was far from a racist and that he didn't know the race of the person he shot. When asked whether he thought race played a part, Simmons said, "I'm not going to say that. That could have been anybody's kid.”
Wafer will be sentenced Aug. 25. He faces life in prison with the possibility of parole.
— Elisha Fieldstadt, Hasani Gittens and Scott Newell
First published August 7 2014, 11:51 AM