Man who shot and killed Renisha McBride sentenced to at least 17 years in prison

Theodore Wafer was sentenced to at least 17 years in prison for the shooting to death of an unarmed woman on his porch. (Reuters)

The Michigan man who shot and killed an unarmed 19-year-old woman at his front door last year was sentenced Wednesday to at least 17 years in prison.

Renisha McBride had knocked on the door of Theodore Wafer’s home in Dearborn Heights, just outside of Detroit, in the early hours of Nov. 2. He shot her through his screen door, hitting her in the face and killing her, and was charged with second-degree murder two weeks later.

A jury found Wafer guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter last month. On Wednesday, he was sentenced by Judge Dana Hathaway to serve 15 to 30 years for the second-degree murder charge along with 7 to 15 years for the manslaughter charge.

Wafer will also serve a two-year sentence for the felony firearm charge, which means he was sentenced to serve at least 17 years in prison. An attorney for Wafer, who is 55, had told the judge before the sentencing was announced that anything more than a decade in prison is a “life sentence,” according to the Associated Press.

Kym Worthy, the Wayne County prosecutor, said last month that “justice was served” when Wafer was found guilty. On Wednesday, Worthy noted that McBride’s family “stoically and patiently waited for justice” in the 10 months since McBride was killed.

“We all must remember that a young woman with her future ahead of her lost her life,” Worthy said in a statement Wednesday.

The second-degree murder charge carried with it a potential for life in prison, while the manslaughter conviction carried a maximum of 15 years in prison, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Wafer apologized to McBride’s family in the courtroom on Wednesday, saying he hoped that they could forgive him.

Wafer had testified during the trial that he grabbed his 12-gauge shotgun because he feared for his life and said he “just reacted.” (He had also previously told police that the shooting was accidental.) A juror told the Detroit Free Press that “no one believed” Wafer’s testimony that he acted in self-defense.

McBride appeared at his door after crashing her car in the area, and tests show she was intoxicated at the time she was killed.

The case was racially charged, as McBride was a black teen shot and killed by a white man barely four months after George Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter after shooting and killing Trayvon Martin.

McBride’s parents told reporters after Wafer was convicted that they supported the verdict.

This post has been updated to include the statement from Worthy. 

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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