Theodore Wafer wraps up testifying in his own defense; closing arguments in McBride trial today

Aug 6, 2014

Theodore Wafer
Theodore Wafer
Credit Dearborn Heights Police

Theodore Wafer took the stand to testify in his own defense for a second straight day Tuesday.

Wafer is on trial for second-degree murder in the November shooting death of 19-year-old Renisha McBride.

Wafer said he shot McBride on his Dearborn Heights front porch in self-defense, claiming he feared for his life after the young woman came “pounding violently” on his front door in the middle of the night.

It’s never been clear how McBride got to Wafer’s front door. She was unarmed, but had been drinking and smoking marijuana. Hours earlier, she’d been in a car accident and may have also suffered a concussion.

But prosecutors sought to paint Wafer as a paranoid man who was full of “piss and vinegar” after experiencing some minor vandalism—and looking to exact revenge on people he feared might be targeting him, catching McBride in the crossfire.

Under cross-examination Wednesday, Wafer admitted he opened the front door himself while holding his shotgun because he wanted “whoever was out there” to see he was armed.

Wafer said he barely had a chance to see who was outside before he pulled the trigger as a frightened reflex.

“I drew first. That’s how I see it,” said Wafer, who testified he thought multiple people might be trying to break in.

“Shoot first, ask questions later, right?” prosecutor Athina Siringas challenged him.

“It was the threat, the threat that was coming in my house. Yes!” Wafer said.

Prosecutors also highlighted discrepancies between Wafer’s initial statements to police, and his testimony in court.

Wafer first told police his Mossberg shotgun went off accidentally—something experts have testified is nearly impossible.

Wafer now admits to pulling the trigger “on purpose,” but says he forgot the gun was loaded at the time.

Prosecutors also questioned why Wafer didn’t tell police he acted out of extreme fear, as he now claims.

Wafer repeatedly said he was “confused” because it all “happened so fast.” He said it’s taken the nine months since the shooting to fully process what happened.

“It’s been a nightmare, ever since that night,” Wafer told jurors, his voice trembling.

Closing arguments are set for this morning.