Civil suit filed against Wafer

Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — A lawyer representing the family of Renisha McBride filed a wrongful death lawsuit for more than $10 million against her killer, Theodore Wafer.

Attorney Gerald Thurswell, on behalf of Monica McBride and Walter Simmons, filed the case in the civil division of the Wayne County Circuit Court in Detroit Aug. 19 accusing Wafer of assault and battery, negligence, gross negligence, emotional distress and wrongful death.

Thurswell said the city was able to receive justice through the criminal justice system and is now seeking compensation through the civil division of the court.

“The civil court provides for compensation for the family for the loss of their child as a result of his (Wafer’s) intentional act of second-degree murder,” Thurswell said. “This man took the life of an unarmed, innocent child for no reason whatsoever and because of that was punished by the criminal justice system. We are now seeking justice in the civil justice system.”

Wafer, 55, was convicted of second-degree murder, manslaughter and felony firearm by a jury in the courtroom of Circuit Court Judge Dana Hathaway Aug. 7 for shooting and killing McBride, 19, of Detroit, with a shotgun blast through a locked screen door on the front porch of his house in the 16800 block of Outer Drive about 4:40 a.m. Nov. 2.

Wafer is facing possible penalties of 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.

Sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sept. 3.

Wafer is being held in the Wayne County Jail.

According to the lawsuit, Wafer “acted in a malicious fashion with a deprived indifference to the harm inflicted upon” McBride, causing her parents “shock, mental anguish, fright” and “unimaginable pain and suffering.”

A status conference for the civil case is scheduled for 8:15 a.m. Nov. 18 before Circuit Court Judge Robert Ziolkowski.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at