Detroit — A Dearborn Heights man was charged Friday with second-degree murder, manslaughter and possession of a firearm in a felony in the shooting death of 19-year-old Detroiter Renisha McBride.
Homeowner Theodore Wafer, 54, faces arraignment Friday afternoon in the charges, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced.
The case garnered national attention as reports emerged regarding the tragic shooting death of Renisha McBride who was fatally shot in the face early Nov. 2 after being involved in a car accident and seeking help from residents in the Dearborn Heights neighborhood. McBride was apparently shot to death on Wafer’s porch when she knocked on his door requesting help.
McBride is claiming self-defense according to his lawyer, who says his client was “justified” in firing at McBride.
Wayne County prosecutor, Kim Worthy said Friday that the evidence shows Wafer shot McBride through a locked screen door. He is not in custody and will be asked to turn himself in to authorities, the prosecutor said. “We have issued these charges because we believe the evidence will show that self defense was not warranted,” Worthy said. “Under Michigan law, there is no duty to retreat in your own home, however, someone who claims self-defense must honestly and reasonably believe that he is in imminent danger of either losing his life or suffering great bodily harm. and that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent that harm,” she added.
The case points to more racial bias and discrepancies law in an already heated debate regarding the fair and impartial application of law, as in the Trayvon Martin case in Florida, when George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder charges in the teens’ shooting death. Wafer is white and McBride was black.
About two and a half hours earlier before the shooting at the home in the 16800 block of Outer Drive, McBride crashed into a parked car a mile away on Brammell and Warren in Detroit.The young woman’s family has said she was seeking help when she went to the Outer Drive home.
In what to some appears to be an attempt to blame the victim, toxicology results earlier this week from an autopsy on McBride’s body showed the young woman was legally drunk and had traces of marijuana in her system. No toxicology tests were conducted on Wafer.
Wafter’s attorney, Cheryl Carpenter, has said her client believed his home was being broken into by “person or persons” and feared for his life.
“I’m confident when the evidence comes it will show that my client was justified and acted as a reasonable person would who was in fear for his life,” Carpenter said last week.
McBride’s family members will hold a news conference at 3 p.m. Friday at the office of their lawyer, Southfield attorney Gerald Thurswell.