Theodore Wafer: Detroit porch killer testifies
- 5 August 2014
- From the section US & Canada
A man who killed an unarmed black woman on his suburban Detroit porch has said he fired because he was afraid and refused to be a victim in his own home.
Theodore Wafer, 55, told jurors he had been awakened in the night by loud banging on his front door.
Mr Wafer has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the November shooting death of Renisha McBride, 19, who was drunk at the time.
Prosecutors argue he should have stayed inside and called the police.
"This person came out from the side of my house so fast. I raised the gun and shot," Mr Wafer told jurors on Monday, as he took the stand in his own defence and described what he saw in the moments before the shooting.
"I wasn't going to cower in my house."
In the early hours of 2 November, Mr Wafer killed Ms McBride with his 12-gauge shotgun after she banged on the door of his house in Dearborn Heights.
Ms McBride had crashed her car into a parked vehicle close to Mr Wafer's house hours before the shooting. It is unclear how and why she arrived at his house - the two did not know one another.
A toxicology report later showed that she had a blood alcohol level of 0.218%, well above the state's drink-driving limit.
She was also found to have marijuana in her body, although it was not clear she had used the drug the day of her death.
Lawyers for Mr Wafer argue that he was acting in self-defence because he was afraid for his life. And on Monday Mr Wafer told jurors he thought there could have been more than one person outside his home.
He described how he was awakened in the middle of the night by the banging, then opened his front door slightly and saw the outer screen door was damaged.
He said he pulled the trigger "to defend myself. It was them or me.''
When police arrived, they found Ms McBride's body in a pool of blood just off the porch. She had been shot in the face.
Under state of Michigan law, Mr Wafer must convince the jury he had a reasonable and honest fear for his life.
If convicted, he could face a life sentence with the possibility of parole.