US & Canada

Detroit porch killer Theodore Wafer jailed for 17 years

Theodore Wafer
Jurors rejected Theodore Wafer's claims that he was acting in self-defence when he shot Renisha McBride

A man who killed an unarmed woman who banged on his door at night has been sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Theodore Wafer was convicted of the second-degree murder of Renisha McBride, 19, who was drunk when she crashed her car near his home in suburban Detroit.

Before sentencing, he apologised to her family and said: "I will carry that guilt and sorrow forever."

The case raised the issue of the use of guns in self-defence in the US.

The nine-day trial had looked at whether the 55-year-old had a reasonable belief that his safety was under threat when he was woken in the night by a pounding on his door.

It is not known for sure why McBride knocked on Wafer's door

He told the court he had shot McBride because he feared his life was in danger.

But a jury rejected his claim of self-defence and he was convicted last month of murder, manslaughter and a gun-related charge.

McBride knocked on Wafer's door at about 4:30am, having crashed her car into a parked car about half a mile away three hours earlier. A post-mortem examination found that she was extremely drunk.

There was some speculation after the tragedy whether race might be a factor, with some likening it to the shooting of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, but race did not figure in the trial.

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