During opening arguments in the trial of Theodore Wafer, the man who shot and killed 19 year-old Renisha McBride, the prosecution and the defense presented radically different descriptions of what happened on Wafer’s front porch in the early hours of November 2, 2013.
Assistant Wayne County prosecutor Danielle Hagaman-Clark told the jury that Wafer had other options open to him and that there was no need for him to open his door and fire his shotgun point blank into McBride’s face.
“His actions that night were unnecessary, unjustified and unreasonable. Because of what he did that night, a 19-year-old girl is dead on a porch in Dearborn Heights.”
Wafer’s defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter had a far different take on what happened, as well as an explanations as to why Wafer did not call 911 until after the shooting.
She shouted “BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, BOOM” telling jurors that was what Wafer awoke to that morning as he slept in a recliner in front of his TV. He began to crawl on the floor looking for his cell phone. He could not locate the phone so he retrieved his 12 gauge shotgun and went to the door, opening it and firing because, according to her, he was frightened that there was more than one person attempting to enter the house.
Painting McBride as out of control and violently aggressive Carpenter went on:
“It was a commotion where the floor was shaking, The picture window was rattling, the doors were jiggling, the knobs were jiggling.”
The prosecution argued that the investigation had found that all of the locks on windows and doors were intact and that there was no sign of any attempt at forced entry, saying that Wafers defense utilizing the state’s “castle doctrine” does not stand up since he was never in any danger.
The missing cell phone which he used to call 911 was in his back pocket the whole time, and even when he did call he hung up on the operator when asked what city he was located in.
When he was questioned by police after the incident, he told them in a recorded conversation that he did not know that his gun was loaded.
On the recording which was played in court on Wednesday Sgt. Rory McMamnon asked, “What happened here?”
“A consistent knocking on the door, and I’m trying to 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.
I didn’t know there was a round in there, I don’t get it. Who’s knocking on your door at 4:30 in the morning? Bang, bang, bang — somebody wanting in.”
When police arrived, the shotgun was lying on the floor of the foyer. When police asked him about it he replied, “It’s a little Mossberg, you know, shotgun. Self-defense.”
Watch a report on opening statements below.