Closing arguments set for Michigan porch shooting case

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 06, 2014 7:32 AM

By Aaron Foley

DETROIT (Reuters) - Closing arguments are expected on Wednesday in the trial of a white suburban Detroit homeowner charged with second-degree murder for shooting an unarmed black teenage girl on his front porch.

Theodore Wafer, 55, is accused of shooting Renisha McBride, 19, in the face through a screen door in Dearborn Heights when she knocked on his door looking for help after an early morning car crash last November.

The airport maintenance worker faces up to life in prison if convicted. The racially charged case could go to the jury on Wednesday.

Wafer took the stand this week and said he "shot in fear" when he saw a figure coming to his door, afraid that someone was trying to break into his house, but he did not take aim.

Prosecutors called Wafer's actions unjustified and unreasonable. "Shoot first and ask questions later, right?" Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Athina Siringas asked Wafer during cross-examination on Tuesday.

Wafer responded, "It was a threat that was coming into my house."

The killing has sparked protests in Dearborn Heights and comparisons to the 2012 Florida shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager who was also unarmed.

McBride had been drinking and smoking pot before she had a car accident and came to Wafer's house, according to previous testimony.

(Reporting by Aaron Foley; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Sandra Maler)