Theodore Wafer: opening statements today in porch-shooting case

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Good morning:

Opening statements in the Theodore Wafer porch-shooting trial are scheduled to start today at 9 am EDT.

The precise legal questions to bear in mind as you listen to the lawyers lay out their respective cases in their opening statements are:

(1) whether Wafer acted reasonably when he opened his locked front door and fired his shotgun through his locked screen door killing an unarmed Renisha McBride, and

(2) whether he acted reasonably depends on whether a reasonable person in his situation would have believed himself to be in imminent danger of being killed or suffering serious bodily injury.

Wafer must be presumed innocent. The prosecution has the burden of proving that Wafer did not act reasonably when he shot and killed McBride.

The issues are the same in the Pistorius case.

Although the circumstances vary somewhat, both men fired through locked doors killing their respective victims on the other side.

Did they reasonably believe themselves to be in danger of death or serious bodily injury?

You be the judge.

A news station in Detroit is LiveStreaming this morning here:

Split your screen. Watch the opening statements on one and comment on the other.

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103 Responses to Theodore Wafer: opening statements today in porch-shooting case

  1. LessonLearned says:

    Thank you Professor for all your hard work

  2. Court is over for today.

  3. Gus Burns | just now
    (Next witness)

    We’re moving a little quicker than I originally anticipated, Hagaman said. Court over for the day. We’ll be back at 9 a.m.

    • crustyolemothman says:

      Perhaps there will be a live feed in the morning at 08:00 cst when the trial allegedly resumes…

  4. Gus Burns | just now
    2:43 p.m. Gonzalez says he did not handcuff Wafer when he placed him in the patrol car

    Gonzalez took Wafer to station and turned him over to a detective.

    Mack Carpenter concludes questioning.

  5. Gus Burns | just now
    (Mack Carpenter, the father of lead attorney Cheryl Carpenter, now questioning)

    Gonzalez says Wafer was “absolutely” cooperative during the Nov. 2 investigation.

    Gonzalez did not notice the front screen was broken from its frame. “I recall it was in place,” he said “There was a bullet hole”

  6. Gus Burns | 1 minute ago
    2:38 p.m. Gonzalez says he saw a shotgun near McBride inside the home. He did not see any other weapons or potential robbery tools, such as a crowbar.

    Hagaman: “Did you see anything out there except her body on the porch?”

    Gonzalez: “No”

  7. Gus Burns | just now
    2:34 p.m. Assistant Prosecutor Danielle Hagaman-Clark questioning. Gonzalez said the report is inaccurate. It states the officer searched McBride, not Wafer, as is what actually happened.

    Gonzalez says he “may have” had more contact with McBride’s body but he’s not certain.

    He asked Wafer for consent to conduct a search of Wafer’s home. Wafer consented.

  8. Gus Burns | just now
    2:32: Gonzalez: Wafer ID’s himself as the shooter and 911 caller. Gonzalez patted him down for weapons, which he said is routine. Wafer was not armed. Gonzalez informed Wafer he would be detained pending investigation. Wafer is placed in the back of Gonzalez’s scout car.

    Gonzalez asked sergeant if detective bureau would be taking over due to it being a homicide. The Sgt. confrimed.

  9. Gus Burns | just now
    Based on a search of the Internet, it appears the witness is Corporal Ruben Gonzalez. He received the 2007 Dearborn Heights Police Department Chief’s Unit award:

  10. Gus Burns | 1 minute ago
    2:26 p.m. Gonzales parked. Said “we get multiple bogus runs” so he wanted to first confirm it was legitimate.

    Gonzalez: “It was obvious and unfortunate that she was deceased.”

    Says porch door was closed. There was a shotgun in the foyer and he observed Wafer walking outside the west side of the home.

    • Malisha says:

      IF he saw many dangerous invaders but he only shot ONE then obviously he wouldn’t want to go OUTSIDE and expose himself to that danger, since the other 71 invaders would be milling around outside trying to “get” him.

  11. Gus Burns | just now
    Gonzales (sp?) is being questioned about the call he received about 4:43 a.m. Nov. 2.

    “The caller had shot a subject and that subject was lying on the porch,” he recalls as the nature of the call.

    He said he responded to Wafer’s address in a matter of 2-3 minutes. A total of 2-3 were on scene when Gonzales arrived.

    (Defense entering photo of Wafer’s house on W. Outer from the night of the call)

  12. Gus Burns |
    (Oops, they started to replay an earlier feed. Beasley is not back on the stand. They figured out the glitch.)

    Dearborn Heights Police Corporal Reuben Gonzales called. He’s been in Dearborn Heights since 2002 and spent two prior years with Detroit Police Department. He was on patrol the night of Nov. 1,carrying over to the morning of Nov. 2.

  13. Gus Burns | 5 minutes ago
    We’re back. People are recalling Carmen Beasley.

  14. Gus Burns | 8 minutes ago
    There’s just under 20 media people in the overflow room, as well as a couple interns and or spectators.

  15. This is very frustrating.

  16. Gus Burns | 1 minute ago
    Neither attorney has anything further for Beasley. Judge calls a 5-minute break.

  17. Gus Burns | 1 minute ago
    2:03 p.m. Beasley says she saw McBride try to restart the heavily damaged car.

    Prosecutor: “Did you know if she had a closed-head injury or not?”

    Beaslley: “I did not”

    (Prosecutor entering transcripts from 911 call into evidence)

  18. Gus Burns | 2 minutes ago
    Pros. now questioning again about a BP gas station that is to the west of Beasley’s home.

    Prosecutor asking about the injury, says, “so you didn’t see a cut at all, you saw blood”

    Beasley: “Yes.”

  19. Gus Burns | 2 minutes ago
    Nothing more on the BP, but confirming where it was in proximity to the crash.

    Carpenter asking about the 911 call again. Beasley says she told 911 operator McBride left the scene but would be returning. She was also concerned that the crashed cars be moved so that she could exit the driveway.

  20. Gus Burns | 2 minutes ago
    Beasley says she saw people across the street who witnessed what took place. She saw blood on McBride’s hand which concerned her. Beasley says she considered following McBride but she was blocked in the driveway.

    Atty. Carpenter is asking Beasley about a BP station near the crash that stays open 24 hours.

  21. Gus Burns | 4 minutes ago
    Hello: This is MLive reporter Gus Burns. I’m taking over for Khalil, who has another assignment. Thanks, Khalil.

  22. Teri ‏@Teri423 1m
    With all the trials going on now, @HLNNowTV is doing stories about old beauty queens, cats & dogs. #TheodoreWafer #mcteartrial

  23. Now we aren’t even getting any tweets.

  24. marie osborne ‏@marieosbornewwj 9m
    #TheodoreWafer trial: Witness says she called 911 so #RenishaMcBride could get medical assistance following accident.

    I’ve figured out this woman lived near the scene of the accident where Renisha McBride ran into the parked car.

  25. marie osborne ‏@marieosbornewwj 11m
    #TheodoreWafer trial cont. Carmen Beasley on the stand. Her husband owns the car #RenishaMcBride hit. Says McBride could not find her phone

  26. The problem is at the source because I’ experiencing it at court chatter and wild about trial.

  27. Court is back in session and we got to see the juror’s legs as they returned to their seats in the jury box.

  28. Well, our live stream was saved by court chatter.

    The defense opening statement unveiled a new defense, to wit, Wafer was under attack by a horde of black junkies seeking drugs.

    Unfortunately, Wafer forgot to mention this terrifying attack when he gave his statement to the police.

    Difficult to imagine, but understandable in the sense that the shooting-through-a-locked-screen-door defense wasn’t likely to fly.

    Tough sell.

    • Malisha says:

      If that “attack by a horde of black junkies seeking drugs” defense doesn’t work, he can always try “she tried to come on to me and make me forfeit my immortal soul.” Right?

  29. Redirect by the DA.

    Renisha would just lay back when she got high on booze and pot. She never became aggressive or violent.

    They did not get into a physical fight that night or at any other time.

  30. Cross by Cheryl Carpenter.

    She’s using text messages to review her conversations with Renisha.

    Renisha told her she was going to go to the Spot, which is how she referred to the place where she got the marijuana.

    Amber arrived at Renisha’s house after 7. She doesn’t know if Renisha had already smoked some pot.

    Then they went to the store and returned with the bottle of vodka.

    Renisha was being “a sore loser,” so she left.

  31. She arrived around 6 to 7 pm.

    They went to the store and got a fifth of vodka. They played a shot game. Renisha was losing and drinking more. They shared 3 blunts and consumed about half the bottle..

    Renisha was unhappy about losing but no cussing or in each other’s face.

    She left between 8 and 9 am.

  32. Second witness is Amber Jenkins, Renisha’s best friend.

  33. The first prosecution witness was Renisha McBride’s mother.

  34. crustyolemothman says:

    Live feed working here…

  35. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 5s
    wafer atty says ‘what ted did is justified’

  36. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 10s
    wafer attys says case a tragedy all way around and sad that 19 yr old woman dead but that ‘we have to put that aside and look at the law’

  37. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 1m
    mi self defense law does not have a duty to retreat if attck in their own home, says wafer atty

  38. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 27s
    sidedar: pros. objecting during defense opening statements saying “i think we’ve stumbled into arguments” we’re supposed to be giving open.

  39. it’s not stand your ground, wafer atty tells jurors. it’s castle doctrine law application. “we need castle doc. to keep us safe”

  40. Hinterland Gazette ‏@hinterlandg 8m
    #TheodoreWafer atty says screen door was tampered with, unhinged about 7 to 8 inches. Saw no-1 when opened door. #StandYourGround #Renisha

  41. marie osborne ‏@marieosbornewwj 10m
    #TheodoreWafer Defense: front screen door of Wafer home was broken when Wafer opened door before he shot.

  42. Six Jones ‏@Six_Jones 8m
    @oralandar_DN oooh boy. “They” are coming for #TheodoreWafer.

  43. marie osborne ‏@marieosbornewwj 9m
    #TheodoreWafer Defense: front screen door of Wafer home was broken when Wafer opened door before he shot.

  44. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 16s
    it’s not stand your ground, wafer atty tells jurors. it’s castle doctrine law application. “we need castle doc. to keep us safe”

  45. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 9s
    carpenter going over legal requirements with jurors for self-defense ..reasonable fear of life and immiment danger

  46. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 10s
    there is evid there are peo on side (of wafer home) many??wafer atty says she doesn’t know. carpenter showing jurors pics of waferhome

  47. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 14s
    wafer attys says there was broken peep hole, clasps that hold front screen door in place and footprints on back AC unit..

  48. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 1m
    then shadowy figure came from side of porch for ”sudden attack” says it really doesn’t matter what renisha was doing that night

  49. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 6s
    wafer atty says screen door was tampered with ..unhinging it about 7 to 8 inches..when he opened the door noone was there..

  50. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 6s
    right here is the shotgun blast, wafer atty says pointing to hole in black screen door for jurors

  51. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 56s
    wafer atty says front door peep hole broken shattered..screen door to wafer’s front door brought into court now

  52. Apparently, a decision has been made not to broadcast the trial.

    This is ridiculous and only makes this trial look suspicious as hell such that, no matter the outcome, the verdict will forever be regarded as illegitimate.

    • crustyolemothman says:

      The reason not being broadcast is allegedly the cameraman swung the camera to show the jury, and judge shut down the live feed because of that… Lynch the cameraman? Or just a simple tar and feather be good enough?

      • Malisha says:

        Or did he do it to make sure the trial was not televised? Could be one of the bailiffs — ahem — suggested it?

        • crustyolemothman says:

          Perhaps it was at the suggestion of the defense, they IMO attempted to get the feed shut down again by revealing the phone number of the father on live stream… I guess they think out of sight is out of mind….

  53. MKX says:

    They are going to try the mystery second person defense. Kind of like that mystery weapon that Dunne saw.

    One problem I already see is why would you open the much stronger inner door, if there were multiple threats outside?

    A reasonable person, even if this claim were true, would take a defensive position inside his home and shoot upon a threshold crossing.

    And these multiple threats would possible be entering from multiple point of entry. So a reasonable person would retreat to a point where they can hit all things coming.

    So his behavior in light of his claim of multiple threats does not pass a stink test.

  54. Kate Abbey-Lambertz ‏@KABBEYL 2m
    #TheodoreWafer found phone to call 911 in pants pocket hanging in bathroom. He might sound calm on 911 but he was in fear, defense says

  55. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 34s
    wafer atty: he’s cooperative, he makes a statement and he’s taken back home (from police department)

  56. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 17s
    wafer atty says he was cooperative with cops after shooting

  57. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 1m
    wafer atty tells jurors you’re going to have to figure out what was going on in ted’s head

  58. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 47s
    atty says he didn’t know if renisha was african american, arab, hispanic when he shot her to death.

  59. marie osborne ‏@marieosbornewwj 2m
    #TheodoreWafer Defense: puts riffle down, finds cell phone in the back pocket of his jeans which were hanging in the bathroom.

  60. marie osborne ‏@marieosbornewwj 3m
    #TheodoreWafer Defense: “He sees a figure and shoots. He looks and knows immediately it’s a shorter person, a woman”

  61. I wonder who these other mysterious people were and if he told the police about them.

    He didn’t mention them to the 911 operator.

  62. marie osborne ‏@marieosbornewwj 3m
    #TheodoreWafer trial defense: Grabs shot gun AFTER hearing repeated bangs on his front and side door. “Never so scared in his life”

    • Malisha says:

      Reminds me of Dunn “shitting bricks.” Reminds me of Fogen “thought my head was going to explode” and Junior’s “any more of that and he would have been in diapers.” Reminds me of Pistorius’ “terrified of an intruder.”

  63. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 3s
    he’s thinking go away..leave me alone..he goes to get his’s not his first decis. he doesn’t know what else to do, wafer atty says

  64. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 18s
    ted is thinking they’re coming to get me..they’re breaking into my house, says wafer atty.

  65. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 14s
    wafer looks outside and sees not 1 person but 2/ more people..the door was shaking..people were trying to get in, wafer believed, says atty

    • Malisha says:

      If three people were trying to break down his door, even if he could not find his cell phone to call 911, he could (and any normal person would) have gone AWAY from the front door, not TOWARDS it and he would have gone to the BACK of the house and raised his shotgun to shoulder and cocked it (or whatever you do with those things) and been ready to defend himself.

  66. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 18s
    wafer cld not find his cell phone, defense atty says. he goes to the kitchen..he is not armed..looking for cell phone..”‘his heart is racing

  67. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 8s
    wafer atty says he was sound asleep the heard “boom, boom, boom, boom” (shouting loudly) about noise she says he heard

  68. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 46s
    carpenter says wafer always keeps his front screen door locked.

  69. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 2m
    defense atty cheryl carpenter says wafer sleeping that morning on a dark chilly nov morning. says 55 yr old wafer lives alone.

  70. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 5m
    defense up now for opening statements

  71. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 5m
    wafer “had other options..he could have called 911..his actions that night unjustified” pros tells jurors

  72. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 9m
    pros says “defendant must have pulled the trigger” .

  73. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 8m
    pics of screen door with hole in from shotgun blast shown to jurors as well as shotgun wafer is said to have used to shoot mcbride

  74. oralandar brand-wms @oralandar_DN · 9m
    pros. says no evid. of break in at wafer’s home nov. 2 when mcbride shot..says wafer blasted shotgun thru locked front screen door

  75. marie osborne ‏@marieosbornewwj 3m
    #TheodoreWafer trial. Prosecutor, defendant said “I just shot someone for banging on my door”. His actions unnecessary and unreasonable.

  76. Roop Raj ‏@rooprajfox2 3m
    #RenishaMcBride opening statements: “in order for this weapon to discharge the defendant had to pull the trigger”

  77. Scott Held ‏@ScottHeld45 3m
    Prosecution: Wafer’s shotgun, shells kept in different places in his house. Gun could not accidentally discharge #RenishaMcBride

  78. Cathy ‏@courtchatter 2m
    They have yanked the stream in #TheodoreWafer #RenishaMcBride, we saw some of State’s opening and then nothing. 😦

  79. My channel 7 feed is gone with a “we’ll be right back” sign.

  80. Judge Hathaway is reading the Opening Instruction to the jury. This is a stock instruction.

    Opening statements are supposed to be statements, not arguments, so you will hear the lawyers salt and pepper their remarks with phrases like “the evidence will show . . .” or witness X will tell you . . .”

    The defense lawyers are a father-daughter team.

  81. Case has been called. Court is in session, they are saying, “All rise.”

  82. After a false start, court is back in session. Apparently they are addressing a different case, at the moment.

  83. Good morning everyone, Crane-Station here briefly. I am looking at a LiveStream here:

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