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Detroit-area man gets 17 years in porch shooting


DETROIT (AP) - A suburban Detroit man was sentenced Wednesday to at least 17 years in prison for killing an unarmed woman who appeared on his porch before dawn.

Theodore Wafer was convicted of second-degree murder in the Nov. 2 death of 19-year-old Renisha McBride. Before he was sentenced, the Dearborn Heights man apologized to McBride's family, saying he killed a woman who was "too young to leave this world."

"I will carry that guilt and sorrow forever," said Wafer, often pausing to control his emotions.

Wafer was convicted last month after a nine-day trial that centered on whether the 55-year-old had a reasonable and honest belief that he was in peril. He testified that he was awakened by pounding on his doors and shot McBride because he feared for his life. A jury rejected his claim of self-defense.

Prosecutors recommended at least 17 years in prison for Wafer, the low end of the guidelines, including two years for unlawful use of a gun. Defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter asked for as few as six years in prison.

Noting Wafer's age, Carpenter told Judge Dana Hathaway that anything more than 10 years in prison would be a "life sentence." The judge declined to go below the guidelines.

No one knows why McBride ended up at Wafer's home about 4:30 a.m., though prosecutors speculated she may have been seeking help. She had crashed her car into a parked car about a half-mile away in Detroit around 1 a.m. An autopsy found she was extremely drunk.

Wafer opened the front door and shot McBride in the face, firing through a screen door. He first suggested to police that it was an accident but later admitted to intentionally pulling the trigger.

The judge said McBride had made "some terrible choices" but that she didn't deserve to be killed.

Hathaway described the case as "one life gone and one life ruined."

The jury convicted Wafer of murder, manslaughter and a gun-related charge on Aug. 7. His maximum sentence is 32 years in prison, although he'll be eligible for parole after serving the minimum of 17.

Wafer is white and McBride was black, and some wondered in the aftermath of the shooting whether race was a factor, likening it to the shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. But race was hardly mentioned at trial.

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Detroit Man Gets at Least 17 Years in Shooting of Black Teen

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lancesammy September 03 2014 at 1:11 PM

sentance was excessive. a lot of ass holes that kill someone are given less jail time. he should be given 5 yrs and eligable for parole after serving 50%.

Flag Reply +90 rate up
32 replies
dodie1990 September 03 2014 at 1:41 PM

It seems to me that you should be able to defend your home in the U.S. from a screaming intoxicated person in the middle of the night who may be attempting to harm you. This was 100% political and he was doomed from the start.

Flag Reply +87 rate up
26 replies
laringrp September 03 2014 at 1:38 PM

I reluctantly agree that he should have been prosecuted for something like involutary manslaughter or possibly negligent homicide, but the sentence here is really excessive.

Flag Reply +70 rate up
19 replies
rdh53 September 03 2014 at 1:38 PM

How does a 19 year old get drunk? Drinking alcohol is illegal under 21 right? And she was driving? Seems like some good parenting might have prevented this also. Not that it is an excuse to shoot someone, just pointing it out that she would not have been in that spot if she was obeying the law..

Flag Reply +63 rate up
23 replies
songdragon99 September 03 2014 at 1:35 PM

Good grief, why didn't he just not open the door? Call 911 if you're that scared. This person wasn't in his living room, she was on the porch for Pete's sake!

Flag Reply +60 rate up
22 replies
wigeflyer September 03 2014 at 12:53 PM

It's too bad that he was sent to Jail, People around the USA need to know that they just can't attempt to break into someone home without facing the result and Consequence of getting shot. You can't fix stupid these days.

Flag Reply +53 rate up
34 replies
SUNSHINE2UHN September 03 2014 at 2:01 PM

This is not what should have happened to the man. My understanding was she was beating on the door uncontrollably and screaming. I would fear for my life it that happen in the middle of the night.

Flag Reply +41 rate up
23 replies
frankiegallo33 September 03 2014 at 1:34 PM

They should have given him a paid vacation, and a medal.

Flag Reply +39 rate up
13 replies
bba007 September 03 2014 at 1:34 PM

He got less than what he deserved. He will be 72 when he gets out, and for what he did, murder, is not enough.

Flag Reply +21 rate up
13 replies
rocker September 03 2014 at 2:24 PM

detroit whites should protest and loot o yea thats right we are not animals

Flag Reply +10 rate up
1 reply
Vicki rocker September 04 2014 at 5:47 AM

Yeah, that's what I say, we don't have any rights anymore when your white theses days.
Wake up people! Its later than you think....

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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