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Charlie Langton: Porch Shooter Will Have Trouble Pleading Self Defense

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Theodore Paul Wafer (Police photo)

Theodore Paul Wafer (Police photo)

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DETROIT (WWJ) – Facing a second degree murder charge, a Dearborn Heights man will likely claim self defense in the shooting death of 19-year-old Renisha McBride on his front porch last weekend.

That’s according to WWJ legal analyst Charlie Langton, who doesn’t believe that’s necessarily the best route for defendant Theodore Wafer.

“The shooter must believe that his life was in great, was in fear of great bodily harm,” Langton said. “Again, the facts seem to show she didn’t have a gun. She didn’t have any weapon. She may have been intoxicated. Which generally speaking, drunks are usually not that bad and there was no evidence to suggest that this is a self defense case.”

Even if the young woman was drunk, Langton said that piece of evidence might not help his case.

Langton said that Wafer should have called the police because, “You can’t just shoot someone who’s knocking on your door.”

In addition to the murder charge, Wader was also charged with manslaughter and felony firearm.

“The charges really don’t surprise me,” Langton continued. “But, I’m a little surprised on the second degree murder charge because it seems to me from the reports that I’ve read so far is that this guy really believed that he was in fear of his life. The problem is is when you use a gun to take care of a problem, generally speaking, it’s not a good idea.”

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy sought a $250,000 bond for the 54-year-old man who was identified as a 10-year worker at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, though the defense noted Wafer has a clean criminal record — except for an old drunken driving conviction — and a high security clearance at his job.

Bond was set at $250,000/10 percent.

Wafer had reportedly told police he killed McBride — whom Worthy described as “bleeding and disoriented” after a car crash  — in self defense.

“There is no duty to retreat when you’re in your own house,” Worthy said, quoting Michigan law, and adding the person acting in self defense must believe his or her life is in danger.

“These are the appropriate charges and he did not act in lawful self-defense,” Worthy said.

The death of the teen, allegedly at the hands of a shotgun-wielding Wafer, has been a flashpoint, with protesters calling the incident “another Trayvon.” McBride was unarmed, and allegedly looking for help in the well-kept Dearborn Heights neighborhood when she was killed.

“She was found with a very large gunshot would to the face,” Worthy said, adding there were no signs of forced entry to the home.

Both parents refused to take any questions about their daughter’s whereabouts prior to the shooting.

Talking to reporters on Friday, Monica McBride, Renisha’s mother, offered this message for Wafer:

“You took a life, and you took a beautiful life that was starting to blossom into a beautiful woman; and for that, I hope you stay in jail for the rest of your life,” she said. “Because I have to go on with my life, and her father, without our daughter.”

Wafer is being held on a $250,000 bond.

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