Theodore Wafer ordered to stand trial for killing Renisha McBride

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Good evening:

MSNBC is reporting today that a Michigan judge ordered Theodore Wafer, 54, to stand trial for murder in the second degree and manslaughter for shooting Renisha McBride, 19, to death in the face with a shotgun on November 2nd.

He is white and she was black.

Judge David Turfe said Thursday that based on the evidence presented, Wafer made a poor decision in shooting McBride, and he failed to pursue other “reasonable opportunities to defend himself,” including calling the police for help.

“He chose to shoot rather than not answer the door,” the judge said.

McBride had been drinking heavily earlier in the evening and crashed her vehicle into a parked car approximately a half-mile from Wafer’s house three hours before she knocked on Wafer’s door.

The New York Daily News is reporting:

A witness said McBride was bleeding and holding her head, but that she walked away from the scene before an ambulance arrived. It’s still unclear, at least publicly, what she did between the time of the car wreck and her arrival on Wafer’s porch.

An autopsy found McBride had a blood-alcohol level of about 0.22, more than twice the legal limit for driving. She also had been smoking marijuana.
Her best friend, Amber Jenkins, 18, said they were drinking vodka and playing cards seven to eight hours before the shooting was reported to 911.

Wafer opened the inner door and shot her through the screen door in the face from a distance of about two feet.

Assistant Wayne County Medical Examiner Kilak Kesha testified that her injuries were so severe that he “couldn’t even reconstruct the brain.”

The result of this preliminary hearing is not surprising because she was unarmed and Wafer had admitted to police that he shot her after he opened the door in response to her knocking on it.

The purpose of the hearing was for the judge to determine whether probable cause existed to believe Wafer committed the crimes charged. There was zero chance that the judge would have dismissed the charges on that set of facts.

Defense counsel did what defense counsel all over the country do at a preliminary hearing. They used it to obtain discovery about the prosecution’s case and cross examine their witnesses under oath locking them into their stories.

Defendant did not testify and defense counsel did not put on any witnesses at the preliminary hearing. This is standard operating procedure, so no surprises there. Nothing good can come from locking your client into his story and opening him up to cross examination by a great white shark in a dress before you know if the prosecution has the ace of trumps.

That would be malpractice.

Wafer and his defense team appear to have a choice-of-defense dilemma. He initially told police that he accidentally fired his shotgun. However, his lawyers argued that the judge should dismiss the charges because the evidence introduced at the hearing was consistent with self-defense.

I did not get that impression and neither did the judge. Unless a person is predisposed to believe that an unarmed black female teenager knocking on their door at 4:30 am is a threat and should be shot in the face, and I am talking about white racists, I do not believe the evidence supports a claim of self-defense.

The prosecutor didn’t mess around; She went for the jugular.

Wayne County assistant prosecutor Danielle Hagaman-Clark said it’s “ridiculous” to believe that Wafer was deeply afraid but still decided to open the door and fire instead of first calling the police.

“He shoved that shotgun in her face and pulled the trigger,” Hagaman-Clark said.

And that was the end of that.


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28 Responses to Theodore Wafer ordered to stand trial for killing Renisha McBride

  1. From Billy C. at Firedoglake where I posted this article today:

    Wafer’s shotgun was unusual in that it had a pistol grip rather than a standard stock. Apparently Wafer fired thru the screen door after having opened his front door and the poor girl was only 2 to 3 feet from the shotgun’s muzzle. In a move to nullify an anticipated defense of accidentally shooting the weapon the prosecution called an expert who demonstrated that the weapon used was virtually incapable of “accidentally” firing – he demonstrated how he tested the weapon and showed the court that the safety had to be manipulated before firing.

  2. ladystclaire says:

    Professor, I’m in the process of moving into an apartment and, as soon as I can, I will send you a donation.

  3. Malisha says:

    Why is a man not embarrassed to have to use a gun for self-defense against either an unarmed young woman or a candy-carrying child? Why is a man not embarrassed to admit he shot over and over again into a car because he thought somebody was holding a stick? Are these people and their asskissing worshippers not ashamed of being such cowards?

  4. fauxmccoy says:

    i am glad to see this going forward in a non-circus like environment, which in retrospect, is all i can assign to the entire zimmerman court affair.

    i was able to watch the hearing and the only correction i can add, dear fred, is that the defense did call witnesses. they called their own weapons, a retired MI state police officer who attempted to baffle with bullshit. i found his education to be ancient in a field that has been changed enormously by technology. the defense even tried to get this guy to counter the report of the ME on the basis that he attended autopsies. i found that to be disingenuous as there is no way he has the education to testify as a forensic pathologist. also called by the defense were people who had seen and/or spoke with mcbride throughout the night in question.

    all in all, the hearing was a reserved affair, though, in which the defendant seemed sobered by the events happening around him, their were no ghoulish, inappropriate smiles, nor was he nodding off due to medication. the decedent, too, was treated with respect.

    this hearing was a breath of fresh air after zimmerman.

    • fauxmccoy says:

      forgot to click notify box 🙂

    • Malisha says:

      A guy who had attended autopsies testifying against a med-examiner as if the “attender” had expertise WOULD remind us of a Vietnam vet testifying as to voice-identification expertise because he had experience hearing screams now, wouldn’t it…

      I hope this trial is real and perhaps leads us to conclude that the midwest industrial cities are a bit less primitive than the “Welcome [back] Jim Crow” South.

      • fauxmccoy says:

        well, it does not appear that he was accepted as an expert in the forensic pathology field by this court. it was good to see, malisha.

  5. bettykath says:

    OT Good news. The civilian complaint review board in NYC is prosecuting an officer for stop-and-frisk

    On December 23, 2011, Goris and two other officers approached Yahnick Martin, a 35-year-old, black, real estate broker who was smoking a cigar on a Brooklyn sidewalk, waiting for his wife to finish delivering Christmas presents. The officers accused Martin of smelling like marijuana and said they would need to search his pockets. According to the New York Daily News, Martin did not take kindly to the accusation:

    “OK. I’ll put my hands up but this is really bulls–t,” Martin says he told them. Goris pulled out his wallet and lighter, and finding nothing else, handed them back to Martin and started to walk away.

    Martin says he [sarcastically] quipped, “Where’s the $100 that was in my pocket?”

    Goris wasn’t amused, court papers say. He started arguing with the married dad, who then asked him for his name and shield number. “You want to be a smartass and make accusations, you’re going to jail,” another of the officers allegedly responded.

    Goris, 33, then handcuffed him “very tightly” and they took him to the 77th Precinct, court papers say.

    As he was being hauled off, Martin says he asked the officers to wait until his wife came back to their unlocked car, which was filled with Christmas gifts and had been left running with the keys in the ignition. According to the lawsuit, an officer allegedly told him, “That’s too bad, you should have thought of that before being a smartass.”

    When Martin was allowed to return to the scene — after being issued two disorderly conduct summonses that were eventually dropped — his car and gifts were gone.

    Police recovered Martin’s van several weeks later, but by that time, the thief had stolen the presents and ran up charges on Martin’s wife’s credit card. Additionally, the van rental company charged him $800 for damage to the vehicle.

    Martin is suing Goris and the NYPD for $2 million in damages.

    In addition to Martin’s lawsuit, Goris may actually be disciplined for his alleged misconduct. This is a result of a city agreement reached last year that gives the CCRB the authority to prosecute in police misconduct trials.

    end excerpt.

    But a police judge (an oxymoron) has the final say.

  6. Boyd says:

    It’s scary that people can believe if someone is knocking on your door they can shoot and claim self-defense. It’s like the entire country is the DMZ zone. Don’t cross it.

    Once I was at a club, stayed way way too long (3-4 am), drove back to my Hotel (a Marriott) went to my room and could not get in. Frustrated I went to the front desk and was told my key was for the Marriott 5 miles down the road. Which meant I was trying to get into another person’s room. I could have been shot today.

  7. dbj says:

    Sounds like the state of Michigan isn’t playing around with this fool unlike the state of Florida…

  8. See-ya, Theodore Wafer. Wouldn’t wanna be ya.

  9. racerrodig says:

    A racist…..with a loaded shotgun…….and opens the door in absolute fear….of what……..letting a “…..these assholes…..they always get away” scenario transpire. God forbid that happen.

    It’s time to drop the hammer on “those assholes” and lock them up forever………if not longer.

    It kills me seeing these heartless shits just take someone’s life without any conscience nor remorse and think they’re a hero.

    • Trust_Verify says:

      Question for Fred but racerrodig feel free to answer….
      Why do you imply this was racially motivated? “and I am talking about white racists,” Do you know Mr. Wafer? Are you privy to some past incident that shows he is racist?

      Wafer was awakened in the early hours of the morning by some UNKNOWN person banging on his door. That he answered with a firearm in hand is not surprising as the neighborhood has a higher crime rate than Detroit, next door.
      The ONLY reason anyone tried to make this about race is a non Black shot a Black AND the fact that the DA wouldn’t issue an arrest warrant until the police did an actual investigation to support any charges. The DA is Black as were the officers who responded to Wafers 911 call.

      • You asked a stupid question.

        The answer is: Res Ipsa Loquitur.

        The act speaks for itself.

        Let me spell it out for you.

        Because, instead of calling 911, a middle age white guy opened the inside door, which he did not have to do, and fired through his screen door at point-blank range into the face of an unarmed black girl, killing her.

        She represented no threat to him.

        He didn’t have to kill her.

        He chose to kill her.

        And that’s what racists do.

        They assume black people are up to no good.

        They shoot first and lie about it afterward, claiming they stood their ground and acted in self-defense.

      • ” That he answered with a firearm in hand is not surprising as the neighborhood has a higher crime rate than Detroit, next door.”

        He did not answer with a firearm in hand. He opened the door and blew her head off. How is that reasonable?

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