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Dearborn Heights Man Facing Trial for Porch Shooting Wants New Judge, Venue Change

Theodore Wafer's defense team plans an aggressive defense, including putting Renisha's lifestyle on trial.

Several motions will be heard Friday in Wayne County Circuit Court in the trial of Theodore Wafer, charged with shooting a drunk woman from his porch.
Several motions will be heard Friday in Wayne County Circuit Court in the trial of Theodore Wafer, charged with shooting a drunk woman from his porch.

A Dearborn Heights man scheduled to go on trial June 2 on charges that he fatally shot an unarmed drunk woman from his porch last November is asking Waye County Circuit Judge Judge Qiana Lillard to step aside.

Theodore Wafer has admitted that he shot the Renisha McBride, but says it was in self-defense. Several court filings suggest that Wafer plans an aggressive defense to the charges and that the victim’s lifestyle should be fair game, the Detroit Free Press reports.

On the night of Nov. 2, McBride, 19, reportedly approached Wafer’s house after a car crash. He opened the door and shot in the face from about two feet away. Wafer’s attorney, Cheryl Carpenter, said suggestions that she was on the porch to seek help after the car crash are “fiction.”

If Wafer was afraid, prosecutors say, he shouldn’t have opened the door and should have called 911 instead.

Wafer faces charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter — death by weapon aimed with intent but without malice, and felony firearm.

A hearing on several pretrial motions is set for Friday, among them one asking Lillard, who is Facebook friends with prosecutors in the case, to recuse herself.

“The risk that Judge Lillard would subconsciously use personal and/or political relationships with the prosecution to Mr. Wafer’s detriment is simply too great here,” Carpenter wrote in her motion..

Wafer’s lawyers also want the trial moved out of wayne County because of pretrial publicity.

That includes allegations by civil rights groups that the shooting was racially motivated, though prosecutors haven’t put together evidence suggesting that will be an issue at the trial. Wafer is white and McBride was black.

Wafer’s attorneys also want jurors to be able to see some photos taken from McBride’s phone that show her with large sums of money, alcohol and marijuana. Another photo they’d like for the jury to see is a blurry photo of McBride holding what appears to be a gun.

Those photos, her criminal record and school record are relevant to “whether Ms. McBride had a character trait for aggression,” Carpenter wrote, and should be allowed at trial.

However, prosecutors argue they’re not relevant.

Further, the defense wants to present evidence of about 80 police reports related to shots being fired in the vicinity of Wafer’s home in the months before the shooting, which would substantiate his claim that he had reason to be afraid.
Christine Orman April 03, 2014 at 03:05 PM
The female in this case was wasted on 'whatever' that caused her to crash her car then wonder off from the accident scene. {Possibly hit her head in the crash further impairing her judgement} Then wonders off for several hours doing 'God only knows what with who knows who' before she is eventually shot and dies. When they say 'She was knocking on his door to get help'. That is only speculation and NOT fact. No one knows what she was at the shooters house for, but the fact is she was trespassing and acting 'oddly'. Then you have the shooter in this incident. He lives on the border of the most dangerous city in the USA, where home invasions and shootings occur nightly. He is woken from a sound sleep in the middle of the night by an individual who was acting 'oddly' , not of 'normal behavior'. He instinctively grabs his gun to protect himself and his family, he opens the front door prepared to shoot whoever has trespassed on his property in the middle of the night acting so 'oddly', the gun goes off shooting this trespasser who happened to be the 'wasted female who's been out all night doing God only knows what'. It's quite possible that he pulled the trigger in his panic without hesitation. But only remembers that he didn't mean to shoot the woman, that the gun just went off, like it was an accident. But what he really means is that he did not have 'intent' to kill this female. I think intent here is very crucial. His intent was to protect his family and himself from a possible home invader-killer. THAT is the only truth here. And does NOT deserve prosecution or punishment. That woman is dead because of her erradic not to mention criminal behavior. Not because of something the man did wrong. All this talk about, well, if he were afraid for his life he should not have opened the door, called 911 and waited for the police to get there. To those people, do you realize how many 911 calls have the victim of a home invasion hidden in a room while their home is invaded then the pos comes to where they are hidden and shoots and kills the victim all the while they're on the phone the 911 dispatcher?? Np, sorry, when you fear for your life and the safety of your home, you react in the best way you can to SURVIVE, you don't wait around to assess whether you should or should not be fearful of someone acting 'oddly' at your doorstep in the middle of the night. Even, the police chief of Detroit went on the news telling citizens to arm themselves and shoot the thugs that are trying to break in. Kudos to him!!
Todd Priest April 03, 2014 at 04:51 PM
Sounds like she caused her own death to me.
Pam April 04, 2014 at 08:51 AM
The world would be such an easier place in which to live if we could shoot dead all those who use bad judgment.
Lee Jacobsen April 04, 2014 at 06:35 PM
The 19 yr old girl had .218 blood alcohol level, around 11 times the legal limit for those under the age of 21. Where did she get the alcohol? That provider is guilty of something. She drove and crashed her car while drunk, another crime. She left the scene of the accident, while the police were there, another crime. Why couldn't the police locate her for 2 hours, wandering the neighborhood, terrorizing folk, what were the police doing?? All teens have cell phones. Why didn't she call 911? 20-20 hindsight is great, but the homeowner could only react to the facts of the situation, a bloody, incoherent person whomping on the door in the middle of the night. Tensions are high. Yesterday a white guy accidently clips a black kid with his truck. He stops to help. A gang of blacks beat him, possibly to death. 20-20 tells me to 'keep on going' rather than get beat to death while trying to do the right thing. This owner had no clue what this 11 times drunk was about, (ever try reasoning with a wasted drunk?) and, as Christine points out, took the "I'm protecting my family and home ' option when he felt threatened. It was regrettable that McBride died. However, she, the alcohol provider, and the police hold much more responsiblility for the outcome than the homeower, who now has to go through the court system, and one that may be biased as well. Again, how did the police lose her for two hours, while she was drunk? Do stupid things and bad things will happen, she paid the ultimate price.
Racer Boy April 04, 2014 at 11:33 PM
It was his property, his home, his life. She had no right to any of it...period. Unfortunate that she died...but that's the way she lived...and that's the way she died.

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