Wafer said he didn’t know weapon was loaded

By BOB OLIVER
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — In an audio tape recorded at Theodore Wafer’s house by police the night he shot and killed Renisha McBride, a 19-year-old Detroit woman, on his front porch last November, Wafer told police he didn’t know the weapon was armed.

The tape was played for the jury during testimony Thursday in the court of Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Dana Hathaway.

Wafer said he was asleep and was woken up because there was a consistent knocking on his door.

“I’m trying to look through the windows, but every time I look through the windows and the door, it’s banging somewhere else, so I open up the door, kind of like, ‘Who is this?’ and the gun discharged,” Wafer said. “I didn’t know there was a round in there.”

The trial began July 21 with jury selection, which lasted until late the following day.

The jury is made up of seven men and seven women with two of the jurors being alternates.

Testimony from witnesses began July 23 and is expected to last from 10 to 12 days, Hathaway said.

Wafer is charged with second degree murder, manslaughter and felony firearm for his role in the shooting death of McBride on his front porch in the 16800 block of Outer Drive about 4:40 a.m. Nov. 2.

Wafer is facing possible penalties of any term of years up to life in prison for the second degree murder charge, up to 15 years for the manslaughter charge and two years for the felony firearm charge.

In her opening statements at the trial, defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter said Wafer’s actions were justified and that when he was awoken that morning he was scared and searched for his cell phone but could not find it, so he retrieved the weapon for his protection.

She said Wafer did not have a land line and later found the phone in his jeans in the bathroom to call 911.

Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Danielle Hagaman-Clark said in opening statements that Wafer had other options that night than firing through his front screen door and that his actions were “unnecessary, unjustified and unreasonable.”

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.com.)