US & Canada

Detroit porch killer Theodore Wafer guilty of murder

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

A Detroit-area man has been found guilty of second-degree murder for killing an unarmed black woman who banged on his door at night last year.

Jurors rejected Theodore Wafer's claim that he acted in self-defence when he fired a shotgun through his screen door at Renisha McBride, 19, in November.

Mr Wafer, 55, faces up to life in prison, but it is likely his actual sentence will be much shorter.

Ms McBride, who was drunk, had crashed her car nearby some hours before.

The case has raised the issue of the use of guns in self-defence in America, analysts say.

'Horrific' crime

Mr Wafer told jurors he fired after being woken in the early hours of 2 November by loud banging on his door, because he was afraid and did not want to be a victim in his own home, in Dearborn Heights, Michigan.

"I wasn't going to cower in my house," he testified on Monday.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Renisha McBride was drunk at the time of the shooting

But prosecutors said he should have stayed within the safety of his home and called the police.

In his closing remarks on Wednesday, prosecutor Patrick Muscat said it was likely that Ms McBride was looking for help after crashing her car nearby.

"What he did had to be immediately necessary and it wasn't. It was reckless. It was negligent. I don't know how to describe it. It was horrific," he said.

Ms McBride's father described Mr Wafer as a "cold-blooded killer".

"People have a right to bear arms, but you need to do it with reason and responsibility," Walter Simmons, told reporters.

As well as being convicted of second-degree murder, Mr Wafer has also been found guilty of manslaughter and a gun-related charge. He is in jail awaiting his sentencing on 25 August.

There have been a number of recent cases in the US that have raised how much force can be used by homeowners in self-defence.

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