DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — A young, drunk woman fatally shot on a man’s porch in suburban Detroit was hurt, scared and confused a few hours earlier when she crashed her vehicle into a parked car, a witness testified Wednesday.
Carmen Beasley provided details about the hours preceding the death of Renisha McBride, 19, who was shot in the face by a 54-year-old homeowner in the dark, early morning of Nov. 2.
Dearborn Heights Judge David Turfe must determine if there’s enough evidence to send Theodore Wafer to trial on a second-degree murder charge. Defense attorneys claim he feared for his life, but prosecutors say the shooting was not justified. More testimony is scheduled for Thursday.
Beasley said she heard a “boom” outside her Detroit home about 1 a.m. and discovered that her car had been smashed. She called 911, went outside and found McBride, who had walked away but returned to the scene.
McBride was bleeding and pressing her hands to her head, Beasley testified.
“She couldn’t find her phone. She was patting her pockets. … She just kept saying she wanted to get home,” Beasley said.
Beasley went back into her house to call an ambulance, but McBride had walked away again by the time help arrived.
McBride was “discombobulated” and appeared to be in a “confused state of not knowing where she was and not being able to give a phone number or anything,” said Beasley, who believed the young woman was drunk.
There was no testimony about where McBride went during the next few hours as rain fell and temperatures dipped to the 40s. But she somehow ended up blocks away on Wafer’s porch in Dearborn Heights. Around 4:30 a.m., he called 911 to report that he had shot someone who was “banging on my door.”
A photo of McBride’s legs taken by police showed her left foot had broken through the sole of her boot.
Detective Sgt. Steve Gurka said Wafer’s Mossberg shotgun was found inside near the front door with the spent shell still inside the firearm. A gun case was found on the floor in another area of the house.
Testifying for the defense, firearms expert David Balash said he believes the screen in the outer door was out of its frame before the shot was fired, a theory that suggests McBride may have knocked it out of place and raised Wafer’s fears. Prosecutors disagree.
Dr. Kilak Kesha, who conducted the autopsy on McBride, testified that her blood-alcohol level was about 0.22, more than twice the legal limit for driving, but probably was even higher before she was shot because levels drop over time. He said she had been using marijuana.
During cross-examination, defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter focused on alcohol, drugs and a possible head injury from the car crash.
“Could a person get more aggressive after a brain injury?” she asked.
“That’s possible,” Kesha replied, later saying McBride “absolutely” could have been quiet and withdrawn while drunk.
In the courtroom, McBride’s supporters wore shirts bearing her image and the message, “Don’t shoot. Call 911.” They wish Wafer had called police instead of shooting McBride from inside his home.