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Theodore Wafer, the Dearborn Heights man who shot and killed Renisha McBride on his porch in 2013, won’t get a new trial.
The Michigan Supreme Court denied Wafer’s request for a new trial based on the argument that jurors should have been told he shot McBride because he feared she was breaking into his house in the early morning of Nov. 2, 2013.
At the trial, Wayne County Circuit Judge Dana Hathaway ruled that the evidence didn’t support the instruction, but the state Supreme Court looked at the case to decide if lack of that instruction violated Wafer’s rights. The court ruled March 9 that it did not, which meant Wafer won’t get a new trial.
State Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen Markman dissented in the March 9 ruling, stating that Wafer “was deprived of a critical protection at trial” that “prejudiced the outcome.”
Markman wrote that Wafer was deprived of the presumption that “he acted in self-defense out of an honest and reasonable belief of imminent death or great bodily harm when the deceased apparently tried to break down the doors of his home in the middle of the night.”
If the jury presumed that Wafer had that belief, Markman wrote, “It would have been far more likely to find that the prosecutor did not disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Wafer, now 59, shot McBride, 19, when she pounded on his front door at about 4:30 a.m. after getting into a car accident several hours earlier.
A former airport maintenance worker, Wafer admitted to the shooting, but said at trial he did so in self-defense for fear of his life because he thought she was trying to break into his house. Prosecutors argued that McBride was looking for help after being in an accident less than a mile from Wafer’s house.
Wafer testified that he’d been sleeping in a recliner before being awakened by loud pounding on the house’s front and side doors. Unable to find his phone to call 911, Wafer said, he opened the screen door and saw it was damaged before seeing someone rush toward him from the side of the house to the front door.
Assuming it was an intruder, he fired a shotgun at McBride, hitting her in the face and killing her.
McBride, who was unarmed, was found to have marijuana in her system and a blood alcohol level of .218. She was shot in the face through a locked screen door and died almost instantly on Wafer’s porch.
In 2014, Wafer was convicted of second-degree murder, statutory involuntary manslaughter and felony firearm charges. Last April, the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld Wafer’s 17-year prison sentence, but ruled he could seek a new sentencing hearing in the case, which resulted in the latest ruling.
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Source : http://www.pressandguide.com/news/state-supreme-court-denies-wafer-appeal-in-dearborn-heights-porch/article_cc53a229-0cdd-5ba9-92a3-cb1afdd5fc13.html