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Michigan man to stand trial in death of Renisha McBride seeking help

1:13 PM, Dec 19, 2013   |    comments
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DETROIT -- A Wayne County district court judge ruled Thursday that a man accused of shooting an intoxicated, unarmed woman after she knocked on his door must stand trial.

Theodore Wafer of Dearborn Heights, Mich., faces charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter - death by weapon aimed with intent but without malice, and felony firearm in the Nov. 2 death of Renisha McBride, 19. McBride died from a gunshot wound to her face.

Shortly before 1 a.m. on Nov. 2, McBride was involved in an accident with a parked vehicle in Detroit.

More than two hours later and six blocks away, she was shot in the face by a man who told police he thought someone was breaking into his home. The 54-year-old homeowner, according to police, said his 12-gauge shotgun discharged accidentally.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy previously said McBride was shot through a screen door. Firearms examiner David Balash, who is retired from the Michigan State Police, testified for the defense that in his opinion, McBride would not have been more than 2 feet from the gun when she was shot.

During the second day of Wafer's preliminary hearing on Thursday, Carmen Beasley testified she heard a loud noise outside in the early morning hours of Nov. 2.

She called 911, looked out and saw a car had struck her husband's vehicle. She then saw a woman holding her hands to her head as she walked away. The woman came back, and Beasley asked if she was OK.

"She just kept saying she wanted to go home," Beasley said while testifying in court.

Hours later, McBride was shot to death on Wafer's porch.

Assistant Wayne County Medical Examiner Kilak Kesha testified that McBride would have died immediately upon being shot. He said he found no evidence of close range firing based on the lack of soot or stippling.

Kesha said McBride's injuries were too severe to determine whether she had suffered any brain injuries earlier.

The accident site, on Bramell near Warren, is not far from where McBride was shot three hours later. It's unclear where she went between the crash and the shooting.

Beasley said McBride appeared to be intoxicated, injured and confused.

A toxicology report revealed McBride's blood alcohol level was 0.218%, and marijuana was detected in her system. In Michigan, the legal limit for those 21 and older to be considered drunken driving is 0.08%. For drivers under 21, it's illegal to have a 0.02% or higher blood alcohol level.

Beasley said she asked McBride if she was OK. McBride said yes and tried to start her car.

"I said 'Honey, your car is damaged, you're not going to be able to start the car,' " Beasley said.

She said she saw blood on McBride's hands and told her she was hurt. Kesha also testified today that McBride had blood on her hands.

Beasley said she called 911 a second time, asking for an ambulance. Eventually, McBride walked away.

Hours later, Wafer called 911 and told a dispatcher he shot someone who was on his front porch and had been banging on his door.

His 911 call was played in court.

Wafer told police the gun accidentally went off. Detective Sgt. Shawn Kolonich, a Michigan State Police firearms expert, testified that without pulling the trigger, the gun wouldn't go off.

Balash said he test fired the shotgun. He said it was difficult to understand the opinion of the assistant medical examiner who said there was no evidence of close-range firing.

Other evidence shown included the shotgun, the screen door Wafer is accused of shooting through and several photographs of the scene.

USA Today

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