Gina Damron, Detroit Free Press
DETROIT - A Wayne County district court judge ruled Thursday that a man accused of shooting an intoxicated, unarmed woman after she knocked on his door must stand trial.
Wafer of Dearborn Heights, Mich., faces charges of second-degree
murder, manslaughter - death by weapon aimed with intent but without
malice, and felony firearm in the Nov. 2 death of Renisha McBride, 19.
McBride died from a gunshot wound to her face.
STORY: Detroit-area man charged in killing woman on his porch
Judge David Turfe of the 20th District Court in Dearborn Heights bound Wafer over for trial as charged.
told a 911 dispatcher he shot someone on his porch after the person was
banging on his door. Prosecutors have said he opened his front door and
shot McBride through the locked screen door.
Turfe said Wafer could have opted not to answer the door and to call for help.
"He chose to shoot rather than not answer the door," he said.
Shortly before 1 a.m. on Nov. 2, McBride was involved in an accident with a parked vehicle in Detroit.
than two hours later and six blocks away, she was shot in the face by
Wafer, who told police he thought someone was breaking into his home.
The 54-year-old homeowner, according to police, said his 12-gauge
shotgun discharged accidentally.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym
Worthy previously said McBride was shot through a screen door. Firearms
examiner David Balash, who is retired from the Michigan State Police,
testified for the defense that in his opinion, McBride would not have
been more than 2 feet from the gun when she was shot.
second day of Wafer's preliminary hearing on Thursday, Carmen Beasley
testified she heard a loud noise outside in the early morning hours of
She called 911, looked out and saw a car had struck her
husband's vehicle. She then saw a woman holding her hands to her head as
she walked away. The woman came back, and Beasley asked if she was OK.
"She just kept saying she wanted to go home," Beasley said while testifying in court.
Hours later, McBride was shot to death on Wafer's porch.
In issuing his decision, Turfe pointed to the decisions made by Beasley.
Turfe said Beasley wanted to assess the situation before she went outside to examine the accident.
"She thought first, then she acted," Turfe said.
Wayne County Medical Examiner Kilak Kesha testified that McBride would
have died immediately upon being shot. He said he found no evidence of
close range firing based on the lack of soot or stippling.
Kesha said McBride's injuries were too severe to determine whether she had suffered any brain injuries earlier.
accident site, on Bramell near Warren, is not far from where McBride
was shot three hours later. It's unclear where she went between the
crash and the shooting.
Beasley said McBride appeared to be intoxicated, injured and confused.
toxicology report revealed McBride's blood alcohol level was 0.218%,
and marijuana was detected in her system. In Michigan, the legal limit
for those 21 and older to be considered drunken driving is 0.08%. For
drivers under 21, it's illegal to have a 0.02% or higher blood alcohol
Beasley said she asked McBride if she was OK. McBride said yes and tried to start her car.
"I said 'Honey, your car is damaged, you're not going to be able to start the car,' " Beasley said.
said she saw blood on McBride's hands and told her she was hurt. Kesha
also testified today that McBride had blood on her hands.
Beasley said she called 911 a second time, asking for an ambulance. Eventually, McBride walked away.
Hours later, Wafer called 911 and told a dispatcher he shot someone who was on his front porch and had been banging on his door.
His 911 call was played in court.
told police the gun accidentally went off. Detective Sgt. Shawn
Kolonich, a Michigan State Police firearms expert, testified that
without pulling the trigger, the gun wouldn't go off.
he test fired the shotgun. He said it was difficult to understand the
opinion of the assistant medical examiner who said there was no evidence
of close-range firing.
Before the judge issued his decision,
Wafer's attorney, Cheryl Carpenter, said there was no evidence to prove
he intended to kill McBride.
Assistant Prosecutor Danielle
Hagaman-Clark, though, said Wafer took a shotgun out of a case, loaded
and racked it, carried it to the front door and he "shoved that shotgun
in her face and he pulled the trigger."
"We would like to say on
behalf of Mr. Wafer that we are disappointed in the ruling that the
judge did on the murder two" charge, Carpenter said after the hearing.
"We don't believe intent was proven by the prosecution in this case and
we really look forward to trial where you will get all of the evidence."
loved ones were emotional as the judge issued his decision. Outside of
the courtroom, McBride's aunt, Bernita Spinks, said she thanked God.
"Thank you Lord, thank you Jesus," she said. "I knew God was working."