A Michigan jury has convicted 55-year-old Theodore Wafer of second-degree murder for shooting 19-year-old Renisha McBride to death on his Dearborn Heights front porch.
McBride’s parents praised the jury’s verdict, saying that justice was served and that McBride’s shooting “was no accident.” They described their daughter as a “beautiful young lady” who “had things going for her.”
Wafer’s attorneys argued that Wafer, who is white, shot the young Black woman in self-defense last fall, believing she was an intruder trying to enter his home at 4:30 a.m. on November 2. Prosecutors argued that a confused and disoriented McBride had gone looking for help after crashing her car near Wafer’s home. An autopsy confirmed that McBride was intoxicated when Wafer shot her.
Wafer had reportedly gotten the gun to scare off “neighborhood kids” who had paint-balled his car, and assistant Wayne County prosecutor Patrick Muscat said in closing arguments that Wafer “wanted a confrontation.”
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The jury deliberated for eight hours over two days. Wafer’s attorney described his conviction—for second-degree murder, manslaughter, and felony firearm—as “not fair,” because Wafer will now “die in prison.” Wafer, who had been free on bail before and during the trial, was taken into custody and awaits sentencing on August 25.
The breaking news of Wafer’s conviction became news itself after the Associated Press initially tweeted what was called a biased and victim-blaming headline: “Suburban Detroit homeowner convicted of second-degree murder for killing woman who showed up drunk on porch.” Twitter users quickly responded with the #APHeadlines hashtag, recasting other news events, historical moments, and violence against Black Americans in language echoing the AP, such as: “Firemen cool teens off. Providing relief from the Suns hot rays” along with a black-and-white photo of white firefighters blasting civil rights protesters with water from a firehouse.