Cross posted from Frederick Leatherman Law Blog
Theodore Wafer did not fear imminent death or serious injury on November 2, 2013 when he opened his locked front door and shot 19-year-old Renisha McBride in the face through a locked screen door with a 12 gauge shotgun, killing her.
She was alone and unarmed.
She had collided with a parked car about a half mile from his house approximately 3 hours earlier and left the scene of the accident before police arrived. No one knows where she was or what she was doing until she started knocking on Wafer’s door around 4:30 am.
Witnesses who saw her at the scene of the accident, described her as dazed and bleeding from an apparent head injury.
The Detroit Free Press reports:
McBride’s blood alcohol level was 0.218%, and marijuana was detected in her system, according to the toxicology report released today by the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Wafer is charged with second degree murder. He claims self-defense. The trial, which is expected to last three weeks, is scheduled to start July 21st.
Wafer is white and McBride is black.
Police officers who investigated the crime scene at Theodore Wafer’s residence neglected to seize the screen door, which is one of the most important items of evidence in the case. Fortunately, they photographed it before leaving the scene and returned later to recover it.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy had to order the Dearborn Heights police, who first released Wafer without charges, to do a more thorough investigation of the case. They did a second crime scene review Nov. 11, during which they discovered a key piece of evidence, the perforated front door screen, in Wafer’s basement.
The exact condition of the screen door is important because the racist right-wing-hate-machine has been spreading a false story over the internet that McBride was ripping the screen door off its hinges when Wafer opened the inner door and shot her in the face, killing her, to prevent her from breaking into his house.
Here’s the police officer’s report describing the condition of the screen door when he arrived at Wafer’s residence in response to Wafer’s 911 call:
Northern most West side door was locked and no obvious sign of tampering to that door (partially collapsed wooden steps leading up to door).
The front entry door was open (no signs of prying, kicking or tampering) and the front screen door was closed/locked. The front screen was popped out with a tear in the screen (Cpl. Zawacki had photographed that upon arrival).
On the carpet near front door lay a Mossberg Model 500A 12 ga. pistol grip pump shotgun, black in color. I unlocked screen door while ME took photograph of shotgun through screen door. ID for Renisha Marie McBride on her person. TOT DHPD at scene. I popped screen back in place (held in loosely by one screwed in tab at the top and rested in the channel at the bottom of storm door) so Cpl Zawacki could photograph it in place with a tape measure, as shotgun blast could have blown screen out of place.
Here’s the photograph of the screen door displaying the rip caused by the shotgun blast.
As everyone can plainly see from the officer’s report and the photograph, the door frame was intact, closed and locked when the officers arrived.
Furthermore, here’s a photograph of the inner door and front porch. A peephole is visible in the expected position and a white globe-style porch light is visible above and to the right of the door.
I believe we can reasonably assume that Wafer would have turned on the light, unless it was on, and looked through the peep hole before he opened the door.
Why did he open the door, if he feared imminent death or serious bodily injury?
Why did he claim the gun went off by accident, if he feared imminent death or serious bodily injury?