Judge Rules Homeowner Must Stand Trial in Renisha McBride Death

Judge Rules Homeowner Must Stand Trial in Renisha McBride Death

A Michigan judge ruled that Theodore Walter will face a trial on second-degree murder charges in the death of Renisha McBride.

Published December 19, 2013

A judge in suburban Detroit has decided that a 54-year-old homeowner will stand trial on second degree murder charges in the shooting death of 19-year-old Renisha McBride.

That decision came after a hearing that provided testimony that painted a picture of a young woman who had consumed alcohol and appeared disoriented before going to a private home where she was confronted by a man who shot her in the face.

The hearing focused on the role played by Theodore Wafer, a resident of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, who was charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of the young African-American woman whose family says was seeking assistance by going to his home after having been involved in a car accident.

The shooting of McBride on Nov. 2 has become a racially charged issue of great controversy in the Detroit area and has been followed by the media throughout the country, comparing it to the killing of Trayvon Martin in early 2012. Wafer, who is white, had not been identified by police authorities until the arrest.

The hearing was designed to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed with a trial on second-degree murder charges against McBride. The defense insisted that he shot the young woman because he was afraid that his life was threatened. Prosecutors, however, said that the shooting was unjustified.

One witness, Carmen Beasley, testified about the hours preceding the shooting. Beasley said she heard a “boom” outside of her Detroit home around 1 a.m. and found that her automobile had been struck. After calling 911, she said she discovered McBride, saying she had returned to the car after walking away.

"She couldn't find her phone. She was patting her pockets,” Beasley said, “She just kept saying she wanted to get home," Beasley added that she had returned inside her home to call an ambulance, but that McBride had walked away by then.

She added that McBride appeared “discombobulated” and that the young woman seemed to be in a “confused state of not knowing where she was and not being able to give a phone number or anything,” Beasley said.

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Written by Jonathan P. Hicks


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