DEARBORN HEIGHTS (WWJ/AP) – The Michigan appeals court says a metro Detroit man who fatally shot an unarmed young woman on his porch can seek a new sentencing hearing.

The court upheld Theodore Wafer’s murder and manslaughter convictions in the death of 19-year-old Renisha McBride. He was sentenced to at least 15 years in prison — the minimum under guidelines — plus two years for a felony firearm charge.

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But Michigan’s sentencing rules have changed since Wafer’s 2014 conviction and the guidelines are no longer mandatory.

[View a copy of the court’s opinion]

The appeals court said Wednesday that Wafer can ask the trial judge for a new hearing, although it’s possible the sentence won’t change…but it might.

Renisha McBride (police photo)

Renisha McBride (police photo)

Wayne County Judge Dana Hathaway, at the time of sentencing, said she believed 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.

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Wafer, who was convicted on Aug. 2, shot McBride through a door screen in Dearborn Heights when she showed up on his porch before dawn on Nov. 2, 2014.

Wafer never denied he shot her, but testified that he did so in self-defense after she allegedly tried to break in.

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.

A jury rejected Wafer’s self-defense claim.

[Complete Coverage: Renisha McBride Murder Trial]

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