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Worthy charges Wafer in McBride killing

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced charges in the death of Renisha Mcbride (above).

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced charges Nov. 15 in the death of Renisha McBride (above).

By T. Kelly
The Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy issued an arrest warrant Nov. 15 for Theodore Paul Wafer, 54, on three charges in the homicide of Renisha McBride, 19, at his Dearborn Heights home, Nov. 2. Charged with second degree murder, manslaughter and possession of a firearm during a felony, Wafer turned himself in the same day for arraignment.

McBride had been driving a white Ford Taurus sedan when she struck a parked car in the 7200 block of Bramell around 1 a.m. on Nov. 2. She was “observed to have blood on her body and appeared to be disoriented when she left the scene on foot,” Worthy said. Although she returned once to the scene, she left again and, “hours later (and six blocks away) McBride’s body was found near the front porch of Wafer’s home with a “very large gunshot wound to her face.”

Wafer claimed self-defense and that his gun accidently fired.

“It is alleged Ms. McBride was unarmed when she was shot by the defendant as she knocked on his locked front screen door. There were no signs of forced entry to the home,” Worthy said.

Wayne County Prosecuter Kym Worthy speaking at a press conference Nov. 15, 2013

Wayne County Prosecuter Kym Worthy speaking at a press conference Nov. 15, 2013

Worthy addressed claims Wafer might find protection under Michigan’s version of the Stand Your Ground law. She reiterated that is not what the law is called in Michigan; the Michigan version is called the Castle law. Worthy described the state’s law.

“Under Michigan law, there is no duty to retreat when you’re in your own house, however, someone who claims self-defense must honestly and reasonably believe he is in imminent danger of either losing his life or suffering great bodily harm, and the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent that harm. This ‘reasonable belief’ is not measured subjectively, by the standards of the individual in question, but objectively, by the standards of a reasonable person,” the prosecutor said. “We obviously do not feel by the evidence in this case the defendant acted in lawful self-defense.”

Release of toxicology reports, Nov. 14, angered some in the community. Wayne County Medical Examiner records revealed McBride had a blood alcohol level of .22 with a trace of marijuana. Since no charges had been brought at the time, no names of suspects released and official silence on the shooting, many felt the corporate media and police departments were protecting the shooter while smearing McBride.

“Being drunk is not a death sentence,” Michigan Citizen columnist Sam Riddle said on Fox’s “Let It Rip.” He said he feared the defense was “poisoning the jury pool” — public opinion —by leaking unfavorable information about McBride.

Worthy said Wafer was not subjected to toxicology tests.

In addition, she said there was no evidence McBride and Wafer knew each other but refused to comment on whether Wafer had ties to the Dearborn Heights police department.

Wafer was arraigned later the same afternoon. A preliminary examination has been scheduled for Dec. 18.

Second degree murder carries a penalty of any term of years up to life in prison; Manslaughter — death by weapon aimed with intent but without malice — carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison; and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, carries a penalty of mandatory two years that must be served prior to anytime being served on any other convicted offense.

This is just one phase of progress said Tawana Petty, an activist, who helped organize a protest in front of the Dearborn Heights police station calling for the arrest of the shooter days following McBride’s death.

“We are ecstatic charges have been filed, but now the organizing has to take on a deeper level. It’s important to recognize this was an everyday human being who was behaving like human beings do. And nothing she did warranted her death.”

“We have to keep her as a human being, a young lady who was unrightfully and unlawfully murdered in the wee hours of the morning as she sought help from her community,” Petty said.

Only the Michigan Citizen revealed Wafer as the homeowner prior to charges bring brought.

Ron Scott, founder of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, spoke about the importance of jury selection when the trial begins. “We want to make sure we remain consistent and vigilant in paneling the jury. The family doesn’t want just a charge but a positive resolution in the prosecution of these charges.”

Wafer received a $250,000 cash/surety or 10 percent bond. His preliminary examination is scheduled for Dec.18.

 

 

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