Detroit homeowner 'shooting' trial begins
- 23 July 2014
- From the section US & Canada
The trial of a suburban Detroit man charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black woman on his porch has begun.
Theodore Wafer, 55, feared for his life before shooting Renisha McBride through his door in November, his lawyer said.
Prosecutors argued Mr Wafer should have stayed inside and called the police when McBride came to his home hours after crashing her car a mile away.
McBride, 19, was found to have been intoxicated at the time of her death.
"People were trying to get in," defence attorney Cheryl Carpenter told the court on Wednesday, speaking from Mr Wafer's point of view. She said Mr Wafer had been asleep when he heard "boom, boom, boom, boom" at his front door.
"That was reasonable for Ted to believe and that's what he believed that night," she added, arguing her client had acted in self-defence.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, argued Mr Wafer had other options when faced with McBride at his door.
"His actions that night were unnecessary, unjustified and unreasonable," prosecutor Danielle Hagaman-Clark told the court, adding there was no evidence of an attempted break-in at the scene.
McBride was shot in the face as she stood on the porch in the predominantly white Dearborn Heights area shortly before 04:00 local time on 2 November.
A car registered to Ms McBride's family had crashed into a parked vehicle about two hours before the shooting, a few streets away.
It is unclear what happened in the intervening time.
A subsequent toxicology report on Ms McBride indicated she had a blood alcohol level of 0.218%, well above the state's drink-driving limit.
She was also found to have marijuana in her body, although it was not clear she had used the drug the day of her death.
The case later drew the attention of civil rights leader the Reverend Al Sharpton, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Michigan Congressman John Conyers.
Hundreds attended a rally in November organised by Mr Sharpton's National Action Network on behalf of Ms McBride.