Detroit-area man who shot woman on porch arraigned on murder charge
(CNN) — A June trial has been set for a Detroit-area man who said he accidentally shot and killed a 19-year-old woman he thought was breaking into his home.
Theodore Paul Wafer, 54, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday to second-degree murder charges in connection with the November 2, 2013 shooting of Renisha McBride. Authorities said McBride was intoxicated and possibly disoriented following a car crash before Wafer shot her on his porch in the community of Dearborn Heights.
The trial was set for June 2.
Last month, District Court Judge David Turfe said there was enough probable cause for Wafer to stand trial in connection with the shooting.
“Defendant came to the door with the shotgun,” Turfe said, according to CNN Michigan affiliate WXYZ. “His first thought was to bring the gun, not call for help, or not answer the door. It suggests to this court, the defendant made a bad choice.”
A friend of McBride told the court that she and the victim had been playing a drinking game with vodka and smoking marijuana the night of the shooting.
Wafer, whose lawyer said he shot the victim in self-defense, was charged with second-degree murder last month after days of pressure from McBride’s relatives seeking an arrest.
He also was charged with manslaughter and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Wafer told investigators he thought McBride was breaking into his home, and that the shotgun accidentally discharged when he investigated, police said.
McBride was unarmed and there was no evidence of a break-in, so Wafer — who authorities say shot McBride from behind a closed, locked screen door — cannot lawfully claim he needed to shoot her to stop an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy told reporters in November.
“I am saying we do not believe he acted in lawful self-defense,” Worthy said.
By Dominique Dodley