June 27, 2014 at 11:18 pm

Judge to work out pretrial issues in Dearborn Heights porch shooting

Theodore Wafer during a final pre-trial conference hearing Friday. He's charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of 19-year-old Detroiter Renisha McBride. (Charles V. Tines / The Detroit News)

Detroit—Testimony and evidence about the alleged drinking and drug habits of 19-year-old Renisha McBride, shot to death on a Dearborn Heights porch last November, will not be presented to jurors in the upcoming second-degree murder trial of her accused killer, Theodore Wafer.

In a pretrial hearing Friday, Wafer’s attorney Cheryl Carpenter sought to have information about a 2011 car accident McBride was involved in admitted as evidence in the trial to show the young woman has a pattern of driving drunk. Carpenter also wanted to admit text messages belonging to McBride that allegedly show the teen was involved in the drug culture. Wafer has maintained he thought she was an intruder when he shot her.

Wayne Circuit Judge Dana Hathaway ruled the information about the 2011 car crash and the text messages was inadmissible at trial because it is “unfairly prejudicial” and doesn’t prove Wafer necessarily had a reason to fear her.

Hathaway also denied the defense’s request to show jurors a map of crime incidents in Wafer’s neighborhood.

Still to be determined is a request by Wafer’s lawyer to show jurors potentially damaging cellphone photos of McBride with marijuana and flashing “wanna-be gang signs.”

“A month before the shooting she’s doing a selfie holding a gun,” said Carpenter Friday. “She had pictures of her with baggies of marijuana.”

But Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Danielle Hagaman-Clark countered: “If I got shot today and someone went through my phone and found nude pictures of me does that make me a hooker?”

Hagaman-Clark added that there is no evidence that McBride was selling marijuana and that the gun in the photo was real.

The pretrial hearing is scheduled to resume at 10 a.m. Monday. The case is scheduled to go to trial on July 21.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com
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