The Michigan Supreme Court is taking a second look at the conviction of a White man who fatally shot an unarmed Black woman four years ago.
WJBK-TV reports that the state’s high court is hearing arguments on Thursday from attorneys representing 58-year-old Theodore Wafer, who’s asking the justices for a new trial.
In November 2013, Renisha McBride, 19, was pounding on Wafer’s door in the predawn hours. She was intoxicated and had wrecked her car earlier that evening. Wafer shot McBride in the face through his screen door. He testified, at his high-profile trial, that he feared for his life.
According to the Associated Press, the justices are taking a close look at the trial judge’s instructions to the jury, which convicted Wafer of second-degree murder. The judge sentenced him to serve at least 17 years in prison.
“The trial judge explained self-defense to jurors, but Wafer wanted the judge to tell jurors he shot McBride because he believed she was breaking into his house — a key distinction,” the AP explained.
CBS News Detroit reported thatMcBride’s aunt, Bernita Spinks, said the shooting was not self-defense. McBride was drunk, and Wafer’s house looks like McBride mother’s house. That’s why she was knocking at Wafer’s door, Spinks explained.
“She was trying to figure out why wasn’t nobody letting her in, and all he had to do was call 911,” she told CBS Radio’s Detroit affiliate WWJ.950, CBS News Detroit reported.
The court will determine if the jury should have considered self-defense and then order a new trial, WJBK-TV said.