After the state Supreme Court mandated a new trial, a Michigan white man who claimed he killed a Black girl on his porch in 2013 out of fear for his life was resentenced to 17 years in prison.
For the 2014 fatal shooting of Renisha McBride in Dearborn Heights, Theodore Wafer was found guilty of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. However, the Michigan Supreme Court overturned his manslaughter conviction on the grounds that he shouldn’t have received two sentences for the same crime.
The facts of the case and the prison sentence, however, have not changed, according to Wayne County Judge Dana Hathaway’s statement on Wednesday, June 22.
“You can’t kill someone for just going up to your door and knocking in the middle of the night. You had options, according to Hathaway.
Wafer was sentenced to 15 years in prison for second-degree murder and two years for using a firearm while committing a crime by the judge. Wafer will become eligible for parole in 2031 after receiving credit for the eight years he has already served.
Many drew parallels between the crime and the murder of Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. Although Zimmerman claimed self-defense, the jury found him not guilty.
Wafer’s self-defense arguments were rejected by the jury in his case. Later, in 2017, his legal team filed an appeal, arguing before the state Supreme Court that the jury had not been instructed on Michigan’s “stand-your-ground law.”
According to state law, Michigan residents may use deadly force if they have a good reason to believe that doing so is necessary “to prevent the imminent death of or imminent great bodily harm” to either themselves or another person.
The state’s castle doctrine provision also gives homeowners the legal right to use deadly force with “rebuttable presumption” of self-defense if they use it to stop someone in the process of breaking and entering.
However, the Supreme Court rejected Wafer’s request for a new trial in 2017.
Prosecutors argued that there was no evidence the 19-year-old girl was trying to break into the man’s house when she banged on the door at 4 a.m. A toxicology analysis reveals that prior to the shooting, McBride had just been in a car accident and had alcohol and marijuana in her system. Authorities think she might have been confused.
Wafer claimed that when he heard the constant beating on his door, he could not locate his phone to call 911. According to reports, he shot the girl with a shotgun through the screen door of his porch after opening his front door.
Hathaway stated during Wafer’s first trial, “Despite the evidence plainly demonstrating that Miss McBride made some awful decisions that night, none of them merited taking her life. “I don’t think you’re some kind of monster, or that you committed a cold-blooded murder, or that this case had anything to do with race.”
“I do feel that you acted out of some fear, but more out of rage and panic,” she continued. Never use irrational fear as a justification to end someone’s life. What do we have, then? One life lost, one life destroyed.
In the February decision ordering the new trial, Supreme Court Justice David Viviano stated that the court was not aware of any instances in which defendants had been found guilty of and punished for both second-degree murder and statutory involuntary manslaughter on the basis of a single killing.
Wafer apologized for shooting McBride in the courtroom on June 22 as McBride’s relatives entered.
I’m still very sorry, he said.
Monica McBride, the teen’s mother, claimed that the family was shattered by her passing.
Because we are not joyful, holidays are no longer holidays, Monica McBride stated in court. Every day is a nightmare from which we cannot and will not awaken.