Jurors have convicted a suburban Detroit homeowner of second-degree murder and manslaughter for killing an unarmed woman who showed up drunk on his porch last year.
Jurors on Thursday rejected Theodore Wafer's claim that he acted in self-defense when he fired through his screen door and killed 19-year-old Renisha McBride. Wafer could face up to life in prison, but it is likely his actual sentence will be much shorter.
The 55-year-old Dearborn Heights man tearfully testified that he "wasn't going to cower" inside his home after being awoken by loud banging on his doors around 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 2. Prosecutors say he should have called 911.
Prosecutors speculated McBride may have been seeking help after crashing her car about a half-mile from Wafer's home several hours before the shooting.
Wafer told the jury he was fearful when pounding on his door interrupted his sleep at 4:30 am. He testified that he had never been more frightened in his life and that his heart was racing.
Wafer testified that the pounding went from the side door to the front door.
"Each time it's getting more violent. It's escalating. Yeah, the floor was vibrating from the banging on the doors," he said.
When asked why he didn't call 911, Wafer said he couldn't find his cell phone.
Wafer said he could never see a person outside and never heard a voice. If he was that afraid, why did he open the front door?
"I thought they were going to come through. And I was not gonna cower. I didn't want to be a victim in my own house. I went to that front door because the last threat was on the side door," he said.
When Wafer opened the door, he said a figure moved suddenly from the left and onto his porch. He fired. He saw Renisha McBride fall down from the shot.
He showed no emotion during his testimony until his lawyer asked if he thought about McBride and her family.
"Every day. It's so devastating. This poor girl. She had her whole life in front of her. I took that from her," he said, becoming emotional.
During cross examination, the prosecuting attorney played a video of Wafer's police interrogation a few hours after the shooting, pointing out that he did not cry then, when there was no jury present.