Minimum 17-year sentence sought in Dearborn Heights porch shooting
Detroit — A Dearborn Heights man convicted of killing an unarmed woman on his porch should get a prison sentence of at least 15 years, in addition to a mandatory two-year punishment for the unlawful use of a gun, prosecutors said in their recommendation to a judge.
Theodore Wafer, 55, returns to court Wednesday, about a month after he was convicted of second-degree murder in the shooting of Renisha McBride.
In a court filing this week, Wayne County prosecutors said Wafer’s sentencing guidelines for second-degree murder call for a minimum punishment anywhere between 15 and 25 years in prison. That would be in addition to an automatic two-year prison sentence for the gun crime.
Prosecutors said they would be comfortable with a sentence within the guidelines. Wafer, like other convicts, could be released by the Michigan parole board after he serves whatever minimum sentence Judge Dana Hathaway gives him.
“There are no compelling, objective and verifiable reasons … that would justify a downward departure from the guideline range,” assistant prosecutor Athina Siringas wrote.
A message seeking comment was left with Wafer’s attorney, Cheryl Carpenter.
Siringas said guidelines for Wafer’s sentence are enhanced because the jury also convicted him of manslaughter.
Wafer shot Renisha McBride last Nov. 2. He insisted it was self-defense in response to the 19-year-old pounding at his doors at 4:30 a.m. The jury disagreed.
Jurors heard conflicting statements from Wafer. He suggested to police immediately after the shooting it was an accident and he didn’t know his shotgun was loaded. But on the witness stand, Wafer said he shot because he feared for his life.
Prosecutors said he was inside a locked house and should have called 911 instead of opening the front door and shooting McBride through the screen door.
It’s not known why she was on Wafer’s porch, although McBride was drunk and had been in a car wreck earlier that night, about a half-mile away in Detroit.