11-20-2017  3:01 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

SEI, Sunshine Division Offer Thanksgiving Meals to Families in Need

Turkeys are being provided to fill 200 Thanksgiving food boxes for SEI families ...

NAACP Portland Monthly Meeting Nov. 18

Monthly general membership meeting takes place on Saturday, 12 - 2 p.m. ...

Multnomah County Animal Services Waives Adoption Fees Nov. 17

Special runs from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday ...

Fitzpatrick Presents 'Pathway 1000' Plan Before City Council

Plan would restore involuntary displacement by building 80 homes per year ...

Sisters Network to Hold Monthly Meeting Nov. 11

Meeting to take place Saturday morning at June Key Delta Center ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Local Author Visits North Portland Library

Renee Watson teaches students and educators about the power of writing ...

Is the FBI’s New Focus on “Black Identity Extremists” the New COINTELPRO?

Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-La.) talks about the FBI’s misguided report on “Black Identity Extremism” and negative Facebook ads. ...

ACA Enrollment Surging, Even Though It Ends Dec. 15

NNPA contributing writer Cash Michaels writes about enrollment efforts ...

Blacks Often Pay Higher Fees for Car Purchases than Whites

Charlene Crowell explains why Black consumers often pay higher fees than White consumers, because of “add-on” products. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Theodore Wafer in court
The Associated Press

PHOTO: Theodore Wafer waits for the start of his trial at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, Wednesday, July 23, 2014 in Detroit. Wafer is charged with murder in the shooting of a young unarmed woman on his porch. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

DETROIT (AP) — A suburban Detroit man who killed an unarmed woman on his porch was rocked out of sleep by a series of "boom, boom, boom" pounding sounds outside his home, causing him to grab a shotgun, open the front door and fire, a defense lawyer told jurors during opening statements Wednesday.

Theodore Wafer is on trial and claiming self-defense in the death last year of Renisha McBride, 19, in Dearborn Heights. But prosecutors have charged the 55-year-old with second-degree murder, saying there was no reason to use deadly force instead of calling police.

Defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter repeatedly told jurors that they need to put themselves in Wafer's shoes. Raising and lowering her voice for dramatic effect, she portrayed him as a man under siege in his own home around 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 2.

Wafer and McBride didn't know each other. She ended up on his porch 3 ½ hours after crashing her car into a parked car about a half-mile away in Detroit. An autopsy found her blood-alcohol level was about 0.22, which is nearly three times above Michigan's legal limit for driving.

Asleep in his recliner, Wafer heard pounding at a side door — "boom, boom, boom, boom" — Carpenter said. He dropped to the floor, couldn't find his cellphone and then heard more pounding at the front door, she added.

"His heart is coming out of his chest. ... There's a shadowy figure coming off the porch and going to the side of the house. He thinks it's not one person; it's two or more people," Carpenter told the jury.

The banging continued and was so severe that the "floor was shaking, the picture window was rattling," she said, so Wafer eventually loaded his shotgun, opened the front door and fired, hitting McBride in the face.

Carpenter didn't tell the jury whether Wafer will testify or whether his version of events will be relayed during the testimony of police officers who interviewed him extensively after the shooting.

She said a defense expert will testify that Wafer's screen door was badly damaged by McBride before he shot through it.

Prosecutor Danielle Hagaman-Clark said Wafer had other choices when McBride arrived. She displayed a cheerful picture of the victim on a screen, followed by a photo of her dead body on the blood-stained porch.

"His actions that night were unnecessary, unjustified and unreasonable," Hagaman-Clark told the jury.

She said there was no evidence of an attempted break-in, and any damage to the screen was from the shooting — not McBride.

The jury heard four witnesses on the first day of testimony, including an officer who was sent to the home when the shooting was reported. Cpl. Ruben Gonzalez said Wafer was "absolutely" cooperative and placed without handcuffs in a squad car.

Carmen Beasley described events hours before the shooting, recalling how she found McBride bleeding and pressing her hands to her head after the car crash. McBride walked away before an ambulance arrived.

"I assumed she was drunk. ... She just kept saying she wanted to go home," Beasley said.

It took two days to pick a jury of seven men and seven women, including two alternates. Four are black. Judge Dana Hathaway asked them their views on race, guns and self-defense. McBride was black while Wafer is white.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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