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    Detroit Front Porch Shooting Case: Day 5 Mid-Day Wrap-Up

    Detroit Front Porch Shooting Case: Day 5 Mid-Day Wrap-Up

    Detective suggests Wafer should have shot purported “second attacker;” defense pounds on evidence collection and analysis; Medical examiner on direct examination

    We’re back for day 5 of the second degree murder trial of Theodore Wafer in the shooting death of Renisha McBride on his front porch in the early morning hours of November 2, 2013. As has been the case since mid-day of day 1, Judge Hathaway still refuses the trial to be live-streamed.

    Detective Sgt. Stephen Gurka, Dearborn Heights PD, on Cross-Examination


    Dr. Kilak Kesha, Assistant Wayne County Medical Examiner, Performed Autopsy





    As promised, here’s Dr. Kesha’s autopsy report of Renisha McBride:


    We’ll be back this evening with out end-of-day wrap-up of day 5 of the trial.

    –-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    [NOTE: Images of trial postings from the live blog of the Detroit Free Press have been removed at their request.]

    Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog (autographed copies available) and (paperback and Kindle). He holds many state-specific Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and produces free online self-defense law educational video- and podcasts at the Law of Self Defense University.


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    Gremlin1974 | July 30, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    I must say it doesn’t seem like a very good sign for the Detective to even have the Judge asking questions about his investigation, that seems like something that will stick with the Jury.

    Frankly, the detective doesn’t see to be the best investigator in the world.

    That being said I really haven’t seen anything from the defense that is gonna save Wafer from saying that he accidentally shot McBride.

    I actually think I can picture what happened now. Wafer is going for the door, he has the shotgun right hand on the grip with finger on the trigger and left hand on the pump. The gun is pointing in an upward direction. Wafer is planning on opening the door and leveling the shotgun at whoever is there.

    Wafer takes his left hand off of the pump to reach for the door knob and unlocks the door. As he uses his left hand to open the door he begins to lower the barrel of the shotgun. Now since it only had a pistol grip that means that Wafer is trying to control the entire weight of the shotgun with his right hand. I would guess the shotgun was coming down faster than he anticipated and he tightened his grip with his right hand and tried to get his left hand back on the pump.

    Unfortunately, he still had his finger in the trigger guard and when his right hand tightened so did his right index finger that was setting on the trigger and BANG.

    Or that is my unprofessional and armature forensic recreation of events. He was just going to use it as a tool of intimidation, forgot there was a round in the chamber and it just went to crap. I bet his plan was if just seeing the gun didn’t work he would “rack the slide” and hope that worked. (Which believe me if you want to quiet a room quickly just cycle the action of most pump shotguns, you will command the attention of a good part if not all of the room.)

      A couple of decades as a firearms instructor, including shotgun and protection in the home, leads me to exactly the same conclusion.

      Especially if a staggeringly drunk McBride 11 time over the legal limit happened to stumble — e.g., lunge — right at the door the moment he opened it.

      As for the “accidental shooting” line–it’s true a self-defense shooting is a deliberate act, and an accidental shooting is not.

      I think the only thing that can save him from that pitfall is — hopefully it would be true — that what he MEANT by “accident” was “not intentional”. All accidents are unintentional, but not all unintentional acts are accidents–people can be shoved, an elbow can hit a door edge when they reel back from a lunging figure, a person’s normal flinch reaction can occur under reasonable circumstances. Those are quite different from a negligent discharge.

      Guess we’ll see how the evidence develops tomorrow.

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      adkjfkjd in reply to Gremlin1974. | July 30, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      Another view is that he had the gun in his hand and as he opened door intending only to see who is pounding on his door. A fist thrown toward him (McBride in her haze still pounding on the door) results in a fear of an attack, his muscle tense up and the trigger is pulled.

      *paraphrased from unknown site, otherwise I would credit the actual author.

    Richard Aubrey | July 30, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    I suspect the detective was making a smartass remark to make the case that the a/c perp, whoever it was, represented a legitimate target and, by comparison, the door issue did not.
    It would be interesting to know how old the a/c footprint was and if Wafer knew about it. Or if he heard noise from there, making his fear of the door noise legitimate.

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