Wafer awaits appeal after deal with McBride family

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit — As Theodore Wafer awaits a hearing date on the appeal of his conviction for shooting a stranded motorist knocking at his door, a settlement has been worked out with the family of Renisha McBride.

Wafer was convicted in August 2014 of second-degree murder, manslaughter and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in the fatal shooting of McBride. The 19-year-old stood on Wafer’s front porch in the early hours of Nov. 2, 2013, as, prosecutors and her family believe, she sought help after a single-car accident less than a mile away from his home.

A hearing date has not been set by the Michigan Court of Appeals, according to records posted Monday.

Wafer, a former airport maintenance worker, is serving his sentence in the Alger Correctional Facility in Munising in the Upper Peninsula. He was given 15-30 years in prison for the murder count and 7-15 years for the manslaughter charge. He also received a mandatory two-year consecutive sentence on a felony firearm charge.

McBride’s family received an undisclosed financial settlement in the teen’s death, Southfield attorney Gerald Thurswell confirmed Monday.

“They were pleased,” Thurswell said about the settlement reached Friday before Wayne County Circuit Judge Daniel Hathaway. The details of the agreement have been sealed, according to Thurswell and a clerk for the judge.

Thurswell announced last August after Wafer’s trial that the McBride family had filed a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit against the homeowner.

Still, Thurswell said, the settlement money does not bring the family relief.

“No amount of money can comfort the sisters and the parents of their loss,” Thurswell said Monday. “No amount of money can compensate them.”

In the 12-page lawsuit filed on behalf of McBride’s parents, Monica McBride and Walter Simmons, Wafer was accused of assault and battery, negligence, gross negligence, emotional distress and wrongful death.

Filed by attorneys Thurswell and Ardiana Culaj, the lawsuit also sought compensation for the teen’s funeral and burial expenses.

According to the lawsuit, Wafer “owed a duty of care to act as a reasonably prudent person” the morning he shot and killed the young woman he suspected was a would-be intruder into his home.

Wafer, 55, of Dearborn Heights, said he feared for his life and thought McBride, who was intoxicated at the time, was an intruder trying to break into his home when he opened his front door and shot her in the face through a screen door.

Wafer took the witness stand during his trial, saying he thinks about the shooting often.

“So devastating,” he testified. “This poor girl. She had her whole life in front of her. I took that from her. I only wish that I could take this horrible tragedy back.”