A white suburban Detroit homeowner will stand trial on charges of second-degree murder in the shooting death of a young, black woman who knocked on his door in the middle of the night in November, a Michigan judge said on Thursday.
Prosecutors presented sufficient evidence for Theodore Wafer, 54, to stand trial on charges that he killed Renisha McBride, 19, in the early morning hours of Nov. 2, Wayne County District Court Judge David Turfe said.
The racially charged case in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, triggered protests that attracted national attention and drew comparisons to the 2012 shooting death of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
Turfe said Wafer had other choices available to him when he went to his front door that night, but chose otherwise.
"The defendant came to the door with a shotgun," Turfe said. "His first thought was to bring the gun, not call for help or not answer the door."
Wafer was accused of killing McBride with a single shotgun blast to the face after she went to his house at about 4:30 a.m. seeking help after a car crash. Turfe also ordered Wafer to stand trial on manslaughter and a firearms charge.
Wafer called 911 to report the shooting and told police he fired the fatal shot, but said it was accidental. Defence attorneys had argued in part that the second-degree murder charge should be dismissed based on the grounds that he was acting in self-defence.
The judge said Wafer's arraignment was scheduled for Jan. 15 and ordered his bond continued.