Trial Begins in Porch Shooting Case of Renisha McBride

Theodore Wafer faces second-degree murder charges.

Posted: 07/21/2014 11:29 AM EDT

Jury selection began Monday morning in the case of Theodore Wafer, 55, who shot Renisha McBride on his doorstep in Detroit on Nov. 4. He is charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and use of a shotgun during the crime. 

McBride was intoxicated and unarmed when she walked to Wafer's porch after crashing her car. A jury will have to determine whether Wafer's use of a weapon was a reasonable fear or deadly force. 

If convicted, Wafer could spend up to a lifetime in prison. Race has been brought up as a motive in discussions around the case because Wafer is white and Renisha is Black. However the court has not acknowledged race during the months leading up to the trial.

"If Ms. McBride had stayed at the scene of her car crash, where help was on the way, Mr. Wafer would never have been put in the situation ... to use deadly force to protect himself," defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter said to the Associated Press

Prosecutors believe Wafer should have called 911 instead of firing his gun. "Someone who claims lawful self-defense must have an honest and reasonable — not honest or reasonable — belief of imminent death or imminent great bodily harm," Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said to AP. 

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(Photos from left: AP Photo/Detroit Free Press, Eric Seals, File, AP Photo/Detroit Free Press, Brian Kaufman)