The second-degree-murder and manslaughter trial of Theodore Wafer, the Detroit-area man who shot and killed unarmed 19-year-old Renisha McBride, has gone to the jurors, but not before the prosecution claimed that Wafer was the one who initiated the confrontation.
According to the Associated Press, a prosecutor used closing arguments Wednesday to emphasize that Wafer was the aggressor in the incident, noting that he had other options besides opening his door on that Nov. 2 morning; instead he became "judge, jury and executioner."
McBride came to Wafer's home after crashing her car into a parked car about a half-mile away. Witnesses testified that she had been disoriented and likely showed up to the Dearborn Heights, Mich., house looking for help. According to testimony, McBride was intoxicated at the time of the incident.
Wafer has told a very different version of the same story. According to AP, he testified that he was awakened after hearing an "unbelievable" pounding at both the front and side doors of his home. He investigated the noise, which included grabbing his 12-gauge shotgun and opening his door. He claims that McBride rushed him from the side of the porch and that he fired through the screen door, shooting her in the face and killing her.
"She was a young girl looking for help," prosecutor Patrick Muscat told jurors, AP reports. "What he did had to be immediately necessary, and it wasn't. It was reckless. It was negligent. I don't know how to describe it. It was horrific.
"How about shutting the door? … How about calling 911?" Muscat said. "No, what he does is he engages. He creates the confrontation."
Defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter told jurors that Wafer found himself to be under attack and asked that they put themselves in his shoes.
"He armed himself. He was getting attacked," she said in her closing argument, AP notes. "Put yourselves in his shoes at 4:30 in the morning."
Carpenter also noted that race played no part in this shooting and therefore shouldn't be of note to jurors. She noted that Wafer wasn't aware of who was at his door at that time of day, he just believed that it was someone trying to break into his home.
"In the heat of the moment our instincts are to survive," she said, AP notes. "He did not know it was a 19-year-old who got in a car crash at 1 a.m. What he knew was someone was trying to get in. It's not for a good reason—it's to hurt me."
Jurors asked to look at clips that were used to hold the screen door, but Judge Dana Hathaway denied their request as the clips were not submitted into evidence. The jurors would spend three hours deliberating before going home on Wednesday, AP reports.
The jury has a few options in deciding this case: First, they could find Wafer guilty of second-degree murder. If they cannot reach a unanimous decision, he could be found guilty of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, according to AP. If the jury believes that Wafer had a "reasonable and honest" fear that his life was in danger, he could be cleared of all charges, according to AP.
Read more at the Associated Press.