A 54-year-old Detroit man
has been charged with murdering a black teenagerwho approached his house in a case that has already drawn parallels to Trayvon Martin.
Theodore P. Wafer has been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of 19-year-old Renisha McBride, according to the Associated Press. She was shot in the face earlier this month after she got in a car accident and approached Wafer’s house, supposedly in search of help because her mobile phone was dead.
Despite initial reports that Wafer said his gun had gone off by accident, his lawyer subsequently suggested that he was acting in self-defence, reports Slate.
Wafer’s lawyer told The Detroit News that the shooting was justified but did not elaborate on why Wafer thought his life was in danger.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy told the AP that there was no evidence of forced entry and that Wafer “did not act in lawful self-defence.”
Other unanswered questions about the case include why McBride ended up a mile away from her car late at night, knocking on Wafer’s door two hours after the accident. A woman reportedly called 911 to report the accident, but McBride wandered away before police could arrive — and her family says she might have been dazed and confused.
A toxicology report shows that she had a blood-alcohol level of 0.22, more than twice the legal limit for driving, and that she also tested positive for marijuana, according to the AP.
Civil rights groups are saying that race was a factor in the shooting. Police have not revealed Wafer’s race, but media reports say he is white.
The neighbourhood Wafer lives in — Dearborn Heights — is diverse and “consists mostly of well-kept bungalows and small ranches, and is near a community college branch campus and a mosque,” according to the AP.
Michigan has a “stand your ground” law similar to Florida’s that says a person can use deadly force to protect themselves without trying to flee.
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