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Thursday
Jul242014

'Porch Shooting' Suspect Says He Shot Unarmed Teen 'By Accident'

iStock/Thinkstock(DETROIT) -- The suburban Detroit man accused of fatally shooting Renisha McBride told police he didn't know his gun was loaded and said he shot the unarmed teen by accident, according to a recording played to jurors Thursday.

"What happened here?" Sgt. Rory McManmon asked, according to the recording that was played by prosecutors in the second-degree murder trial of Theodore Wafer.

"A consistent knocking on the door, and I'm trying to look through the windows, but every time I look through the windows and the door it's banging somewhere else," Wafer said on the recording. "So I open up the door, kind of like who is this? And the gun discharged."

"I didn't know there was a round in there," he tells McManmon on the recording. "I don't get it. Who's knocking on your door at 4:30 in the morning? Bang, bang, bang -- somebody wanting in."

Wafer, 54, who is white, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of McBride, 19, who is black, after she showed up on his porch in Dearborn Heights during the early morning of Nov. 2, 2013.

Valentine Peppers, a 911 operator with the Dearborn Heights Police Department, told the jury that Wafer told him the same story. Peppers said he called Wafer back after his initial 911 call in order to get more information for the responding authorities.

However, Peppers said that call was not recorded because it was outgoing.

Photos of the crime scene, including several of McBride's lifeless body, were also shown to jurors Thursday afternoon.

McBride was shot in the face, falling on her back, with her feet facing Wafer's door.

The photos were overwhelming for family members gathered in the courtroom. McBride's mother and several other loved ones became visibly emotional and had to walk out of the courtroom when the pictures were shown.

Defense attorneys in court tried to prove investigators mishandled -- or waited too long to collect -- evidence in the days after the shooting, in an effort to show it is unclear what McBride's intentions were on Wafer's porch that night.

On Wednesday, the prosecution and the defense presented their opening arguments, where prosecutor Danielle Hagaman-Clark argued that McBride had played a drinking game with her friend earlier that night, crashed her car and may have been seeking medical help for a cut on her head.

Wafer's defense said his client had "never been this scared in his life, ever" after hearing a series of booms and saw a shadowy figure outside his home.

"He hears metal breaking on his front door. Ted hears it. He's thinking, 'They're coming in. They're breaking into my house,'" defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter said.

Whether Wafer's screen door was torn from a break-in attempt or if it was damaged from the bullets he allegedly fired at McBride will be a crucial question in the case.

Under a 2006 Michigan self-defense law, a homeowner has the right to use force during a break-in. Otherwise, a person must prove his or her life was in danger.

The jury of seven men and seven women, including two alternates, will decide the case. Four of the jurors are black.

After two full days of testimony, the trial adjourned for the weekend and will resume Monday morning.


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