The Michigan man charged with murder for shooting and killing 19-year-old Renisha McBride on his front porch in November pleaded not guilty Wednesday in court.
Theodre Wafer appeared in court before Wayne County Circuit Judge Qiana Denise Lillard for his arraignment on charges including second degree murder and manslaughter in the Nov. 2 shooting death of McBride.
A judge ordered Wafer to stand trial on the charges after hearing arguments from both prosecutors and defense attorneys during a hearing late last year. After two days of testimony, Judge David Turfe decided that Wafer exhibited poor decision making during the incident and failed to pursue other “reasonable opportunities to defend himself,” like calling the police for help.
McBride, who was killed by a shot to the face that Wafer admits he fired, had been in a car accident in the early hours of Nov. 2, and she ended up about a half mile away from the crash site outside Wafer's Dearborn Heights, Mich., home a couple hours later. Witnesses who saw McBride after the crash have testified that she was confused and appeared to have a head injury. Toxicology reports showed she had both alcohol and marijuana in her system, but an expert who testified during December's hearing said her gunshot wound made it impossible to determine if she had any head injuries from the crash. The defense has argued a head injury could have caused her to exhibit aggressive behavior.
Prosecutors say the evidence shows that Wafer opened his front door and shot her through the locked screen door. Wafer has said she was "banging" on his door, and his lawyer argued that his actions are justified under Michigan's 2006 self-defense law because he feared for his life.
“There is a lot of investigation and discovery that the defense needs to do,” Wafer's lawyer, Cheryl Carpenter, said during the hearing, according to the Detroit News.
The trial is set to begin June 2.