DETROIT (WWJ) – Theodore Wafer, the 55-year-old Dearborn Heights man who shot and killed a 19-year-old woman on his porch last year has been sentenced to at least 17 years in prison.
Convicted by a Wayne County jury on Aug. 2, after two days of deliberations, Wafer will serve 15-30 years for second degree murder and an additional two years on a felony firearm charge.
Wayne County Judge Dana Hathaway on Wednesday said she believes Wafer acted out of panic and fear, and that he’s “not a cold-blooded killer.” However, the judge said, she could not go below sentencing guidelines.
“One life gone, one life ruined. You made choices that brought us here today,” Hathaway said.
Defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter had asked for as little as six years in prison; saying he didn’t deserve to die behind bars.
WWJ Newsradio 950’s Marie Osborne reported it was a very emotional sentencing, with McBride’s family members and Carpenter in tears.
Prior to sentencing, Wafer apologized to McBride’s family.
“I hope you forgive me,” Wafer said. “I only wish I could take this horrible tragedy back.”
McBride’s family members also spoke in court Wednesday.
“My life was devastated,” her sister, 23-year-old Jasmine McBride, said. “Renisha was smart, kind and loving…Renisha was more than just a sister; she was my best friend.”
She and Renisha’ McBride’s father both asked the judge for the maximum sentence.
“He needs the maximum…he needs to think about what he’s done,” Jasmine McBride said.
Wafer never denied shooting the young woman after she showed up drunk on his porch before dawn, but testified that he did so in self-defense after she pounded on his door and allegedly tried to break into his home on Nov. 2.
Renisha McBride, who had an extremely high blood-alcohol level and traces of marijuana in her system, was shot in the face three hours after she walked away from a car crash in Detroit — about a half-mile away from Wafer’s home.
Prosecutors said Wafer should have called 911.
His attorneys say they will appeal.