#TheodoreWafer: Detectives to testify today about what Wafer told them

July 24, 2014

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Good morning to all:

The prosecution probably will be presenting evidence from the crime scene today and calling detectives to testify about what Wafer told them.

During her opening statement yesterday, Cheryl Carpenter told the jury that Wafer saw “not one, not two, but three people” when he opened his front door with shotgun in hand to find out who was banging on it. She said he had to open the door to see who was there because his peep hole had been smashed and he could not see anything. She also said he did not call 911 before he opened the door because he has no land line and he had misplaced his cell phone, which he did not find until after the shooting.

If his peep hole had been smashed, it must have been smashed before the incident because the exterior screen door was closed, locked and without any damage to the area corresponding to the location of the peep hole in the front door.

Corporal Gonzales testified yesterday that he arrived at Wafer’s residence within two to three minutes after the 911 call. He said Wafer was walking on the sidewalk outside his home when he arrived and he subsequently found the shotgun on the floor inside the house in the foyer just beyond the front door.

The jury will have to decide whether Wafer’s claim that he encountered “not one, not two, but three people” standing on his front porch when he opened the door and pulled the trigger killing McBride makes any sense, since he left the shotgun on the floor in the foyer and walked outside the house unarmed all the way to the sidewalk apparently unconcerned about the other two people who were with McBride when he opened the door.

In deciding whether he lied, the jury will have to consider two other statements that he made about the shooting that we are likely to hear about today.

First, he told detectives that he accidentally pulled the trigger.

Second, he told them that he shot McBride in self-defense because he believed his life was in danger.

McBride was unarmed.

Given his attorney’s preview of Wafer’s latest version of the shooting, I believe we can safely assume that Wafer will testify.

When he takes the stand, he is going to have some splainin’ to do.

And there you have it, so gather round the TV or the live stream and watch the proceedings with us and comment below.

Here’s the link:

http://www.wildabouttrial.com/one_off/theodore-wafer-trial-live-steam/

This is our 1153rd post.

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Thanks,

Fred


#TheodoreWafer porch-shooting case: Defense claims Renisha McBride was not alone when she banged on his door

July 23, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Good afternoon:

Despite an incredibly messed up and ultimately failed effort to livestream the trial today, the prosecution and defense gave their opening statements in the Theodore Wafer porch-shooting case.

With the exception of something defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter said during her opening statement, we did not learn anything new.

Oralandar Brand-Williams tweeted,

wafer atty says he was sound asleep the heard “boom, boom, boom, boom” (shouting loudly) about noise she says he heard

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

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

ted is thinking they’re coming to get me..they’re breaking into my house, says wafer atty.

he’s thinking go away..leave me alone..he goes to get his shotgun.it’s not his first decis. he doesn’t know what else to do, wafer atty says

Marie Osborne adds via twitter:

#TheodoreWafer trial defense: Grabs shot gun AFTER hearing repeated bangs on his front and side door. “Never so scared in his life”

#TheodoreWafer Defense: “He sees a figure and shoots. He looks and knows immediately it’s a shorter person, a woman”

Now, back to Oralandar Brand-Williams,

atty says he didn’t know if renisha was african american, arab, hispanic when he shot her to death.

My comment today:

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.

We will find out tomorrow if Wafer mentioned these other people to the detectives. My guess is they will deny that he did and hopefully they video and audio recorded what he told them so there will not be any doubt what he said.

Until tomorrow at 9 am EDT.

This is our 1151st post.

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Thanks,

Fred


Tuesday Evening Open Discussion: Comparison of Wafer to Pistorius

July 22, 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Good evening:

Welcome to the Tuesday Evening Open Discussion where off topic is on topic.

A jury of 12 with two alternates has been selected in the #TheodoreWafer porch-shooting case. Two black females, two black males, one Arab male, two minority females, three white females and four white males. Don’t know anything else about them because jury selection was not televised or live streamed.

I am frustrated by the decision not to broadcast jury selection because that is where most trials are won or lost.

Opening statements will commence at 10 9 am EDT tomorrow. They will be livestreamed as will the rest of the trial.

Many people have compared this case to the Zimmerman case, but I believe it more closely resembles the #OscarPistorius case because the defendants in both cases are claiming self-defense after shooting through locked doors at people whom they say they believed to be an intruder (OP) or potential intruder (TW).

What do you think?

Anything else on your mind?

This is our 1149th post.

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Thanks,

Fred


Theodore Wafer porch-shooting trial starts today

July 21, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

Good morning:

The Theodore Wafer porch-shooting trial starts this morning with jury selection. Unfortunately, there is no live coverage, so I will be covering the trial on twitter.

Wafer is represented by a father-daughter legal team, Matt and Cheryl Carpenter. He is claiming self-defense, which is problematic because he shot Renisha McBride, 19, through a screen door after opening the locked front door of his house.

She was unarmed and he has compromised his claim of self-defense by admitting that she was asking for help and he accidentally fired his shotgun.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Dana Hathaway is presiding over the trial and she will be conducting the voir dire of prospective jurors.

She has advised the panel that the trial will last approximately 10 days.


Jury selection starts Monday in Detroit porch-shooting trial

July 18, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

Good morning:

The Theodore Wafer trial is scheduled to begin Monday morning with jury selection. Unfortunately for both sides, the judge is going to conduct voir dire. The lawyers will be limited to recommending questions for the judge to ask. This is consistent with the practice in federal courts.

Although I tried lots of federal criminal cases before judges I respected, I was never satisfied with the way the way they conducted voir dire.

Can you think of a reason why you can’t be fair to both sides, is a useless question because with rare exceptions everybody believes they can be fair, regardless of their biases or prejudices. In fact, most people are not aware of their biases and prejudices.

In Washington State courts where I also tried many criminal cases, the lawyers are permitted to conduct voir dire. I would start with a general question, such as, “Do you believe you have any biases or prejudices?” Regardless of the response, I would ask them, “Why?”

My purpose in asking that question was to start a discussion that inevitably led to an increased awareness of the role played by biases and prejudices on perception.

For example, a detective’s wife denied having any biases or prejudices until I asked her if she could imagine a situation where she would not believe a police officer’s testimony that conflicted with a civilian witness’s testimony.

She shook her head and said, “No.”

Have you and your husband ever had a disagreement about an event that both of you witnessed, where your memory differed from his and you were sure you were right and he was wrong?

This question elicited laughter followed by an embarrassed and knowing smile.

“I see what you mean,” she said.

This is our 1142nd post.

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Thanks,

Fred


Wafer: Court denies defense motion to present McBride’s text messages

June 28, 2014

Saturday, June 28, 2013

Good morning:

Wayne County Circuit Judge Dana Hathaway yesterday denied the defense motion seeking the court’s permission to inform the jury about the content of the text messages on Renisha McBride’s cell phone. She denied the motion because their content does not show that she was an aggressive person.

I agree with her decision.

Judge Hathaway also denied the defense motion to introduce a chart into evidence that contains information about police responses to the Dearborn Heights neighborhood during 2013. The defense wanted to inform the jury about those responses to support its argument that Wafer feared death or serious bodily injury because the neighborhood had become more violent.

Unfortunately for the defense, the reasonable response to increased concern about personal safety would have been to remain behind the locked front door and call 911.

Judge Hathaway is going to permit the defense expert, former medical examiner Dr. Werner Spitz, to present expert opinion evidence regarding the general effect of fear on a decision to fire a weapon.

I respectfully disagree with this decision because the general effect of fear on a decision to shoot a gun is beyond the scope of a forensic pathologist’s expertise. Their area of expertise is determining cause of death, not mental processes.

A psychiatrist would be more qualified to address that issue.

Judge Hathaway is not going to permit the defense expert to express an opinion regarding whether Wafer acted reasonably.

Judge Hathaway has not ruled on the defense motion to introduce the photos stored in McBride’s phone. One photo purportedly shows a handgun of some sort. I said before the hearing, the photos should be excluded because they do not indicate that McBride was an aggressive person with a violent disposition.

As the NRA reminds us multiple times every week, possession of a gun does not mean that the person who possesses the gun has a violent disposition.

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Theodore Wafer pretrial motions hearing continues tomorrow

June 25, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Good evening:

Many thanks to all for your birthday wishes.

Here’s hoping all of our lives improve and we start to see some justice coming out of our courts.

The pretrial motions hearing continues tomorrow in the Theodore Wafer case. The judge will be taking up the defense motions to slime Renisha McBride and introduce evidence about the alleged changing character of the neighborhood.

I have written recently about these motions and the Wafer case in general in the following articles:

Theodore Wafer did not fear death or serious injury when he killed Renisha McBride

Defense seeks permission to slime dead victim in Theodore Wafer case

The evidence the defense seeks to introduce is not admissible. Let’s see if the judge agrees with me.

I hope the hearing will be televised and live streamed, but it wasn’t last week.

I believe it will start at 9 am EDT.

Unfortunately, Crane and I have doctor’s appointments that will cause us to miss the hearing. After we return home and figure out what happened, I will put up a post discussing it.

Don’t forget that Oscar Pistorius will be back in court in Pretoria, South Africa on Monday morning, June 30th.

Pretoria is 6 hours ahead of New York, so the hearing will start at 3:30 am EDT, assuming a 9:30 am start in Pretoria.

I will put up a post this weekend updating everyone.

Until tomorrow then.

Fred


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