DETROIT — A suburban Detroit man who said he fatally shot an unarmed woman on his porch out of fear prompted by early-morning pounding on his doors faces up to life in prison after jurors rejected his claim of self-defense.
Theodore Wafer was convicted Thursday of second-degree murder after a nine-day trial that centered on whether the 55-year-old had a reasonable and honest belief that his safety was in peril.
“I don’t know why this was brought to me,” Wafer testified this week. “I didn’t go out looking for this.”
No one knows why Renisha McBride ended up at Wafer’s Dearborn Heights home about 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 2, though prosecutors speculated the 19-year-old may have been seeking help.
She had been out with a friend hours earlier before crashing her car in Detroit around 1 a.m. and an autopsy found she was extremely drunk.
Wafer opened the front door and shot McBride in the face, firing through a screen door while she stood on the other side. He first suggested to police that it was an accident but later admitted to intentionally pulling the trigger.
“This was a monster that killed her. All he had to do was call 911” instead of shooting, said McBride’s aunt, Bernita Spinks.
The jury convicted Wafer of murder, man-slaughter and a gun-related charge after deliberating eight hours over two days. He faces up to life in prison when he returns to court on Aug. 25 but would be eligible for parole after serving whatever minimum sentence is ordered.
The judge revoked Wafer’s bond and ordered him to jail over the objections of defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter.
“He’s not going to go on a rampage. ... He’s a quiet, introverted man,” Carpenter said.
McBride’s mother, Monica McBride, cried and clasped her hands when the verdict was announced. She gave long hugs to prosecutors as the courtroom emptied.
“We learned he was a cold-blooded killer,” McBride’s father, Walter Simmons, told reporters.
“People have a right to bear their arms and everything else, but you have to do it with reason and responsibility,” Simmons said. “Not just murder somebody when it’s not justified.”