A Dearborn Heights man was justified when he shot and killed an unarmed Renisha McBride in the face at close-range with a shotgun, his attorney told a judge today.
Theodore Wafer’s attorney said during closing arguments of a preliminary hearing today that McBride was banging violently on two doors at 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 2. The banging was so alarming, defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter argued, that a reasonable person would have feared for his life and therefore been justified in pulling the trigger.
Carpenter cited the Michigan Self-Defense Act of 2006, which permits a gun owner to shoot a person if there is “an honest and reasonable” belief of imminent harm or death.
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“I am not trying to say she caused it,” Carpenter said of 19-year-old McBride, adding that her client “picked up the gun fearing someone was breaking in.”
Prosecutors scoffed at the idea that an unarmed female teenager was a reasonable threat to Wafer.
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“You open up the front door and you are afraid of something out there?” an assistant prosecutor told the judge, referring to Wafer opening the door before he pulled the trigger about 2-feet from McBride’s face. “That doesn’t make sense. It’s not reasonable. It must be reasonable under the Self-Defense Act.”
A judge is expected to decide any moment whether sufficient evidence exists to bind the case over to circuit court for trial.
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Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.