Defense Seek to Present the Lifestyle of Renisha McBride at Trial

NewsOne is reporting that defense attorney’s for Theodore Wafer who is charged with second-degree-murder for the death of Renisha McBride is seeking a very aggressive defense. McBride is the Detroit woman who was shot in the face while allegedly seeking help after a late-night car accident. It has been speculated that she was seeking help at the time she was killed.

theodore-wafer-mcbride-trial-detroit
Theodore Wafer, left, listens to his attorneys while appearing at his preliminary examination before District Court Judge David Turfe in Dearborn Heights, Mich., Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. The hearing will determine if there’s enough evidence to send Wafer to trial on a second-degree murder charge. Defense attorneys claim he feared for his life, but prosecutors say the shooting of Renisha McBride, 19, was not justified.(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

As reported, defense attorneys are seeking to call into question the character and lifestyle of McBride. The strategy here is to enter into evidence, photos from McBride’s cellphone show that McBride — who was drunk at the time she was killed — could have lived the street life and as such may have posed a threat to Wafer.

Several court filings reviewed by The Associated Press show Theodore Wafer plans an aggressive defense to a charge of second-degree murder. Suggestions that Renisha McBride was on his Dearborn Heights porch simply to seek help after a car crash are “fiction” and “utterly erroneous,” says attorney Cheryl Carpenter.

 

A hearing on some pre-trial motions is set for Friday

 

There is no dispute that Wafer, 55, shot McBride in the face on Nov. 2. His lawyers insist he opened the front door and fired in self-defense, fearing that the drunken 19-year-old was trying to break into his home before dawn. Prosecutors, however, say he should have called 911 and kept the door shut.

 

[…] Carpenter is asking a judge to let jurors see photos from McBride’s phone that show her with wads of money, alcohol and marijuana. One is a blurry photo of McBride holding what appears to be a gun. The dates are not known.

 

Days after the shooting, a man who lived in Wafer’s neighborhood was arrested after police found guns and marijuana, Carpenter said.

 

“Ms. McBride could have thought she was breaking into her marijuana supplier’s house” when she was shot on the porch, the defense attorney claims.

 

Carpenter said text messages, photos, school records and a previous run-in with the law are relevant to “whether Ms. McBride had a character trait for aggression.” Prosecutors, however, will argue they’re not relevant.

 

Listen, before you get your panties in a bunch and start crying about racism and yet another example of how “they treat black women like shit in America.” Please understand that this is just standard procedure. This shouldn’t be a shock to anyone, in that, pretty much in all cases — given the circumstances surrounding the death of the victim — the victim’s character or lifestyle is called into question. Heck, they tried to do the very same thing with Trayvon Martin, but the evidence wasn’t allowed on the grounds of relevance by the trial judge.

To me, as plausible an argument — or ridiculous as it sounds to some — as this strategy sounds, the obvious strategy here is to establish reasonable doubt to secure an acquittal.

And guess what? That’s the job of the defense.

That would be, to set up enough reasonable doubt to get their client off.

Theodore Wafer
Theodore Wafer appears at his preliminary examination before District Court Judge David Turfe in Dearborn Heights, Mich., Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. The hearing will determine if there’s enough evidence to send Wafer to trial on a second-degree murder charge. Defense attorneys claim he feared for his life, but prosecutors say the shooting of Renisha McBride, 19, was not justified.(AP Photo/Paul

I’ll be watching to see how this one turns out based on the self-defense claim of Wafer. You may not agree with me, but it is a very tenable argument based on who is listening and the level of your bias. I’m not saying that Wafer’s actions are justified. However, to me it is within reason to come to your door with a shotgun after someone is banging on it in the middle of the night. To some, it may not have been the smart thing to do. But, let’s be honest: we’re talking about the city of Detroit here.

The defense team also wants to introduce a map of police calls within a 1-mile radius of Wafer’s home in the months preceding the shooting. About 80 were related to shots being fired in the area — proof of Wafer’s state of mind about the “dangerousness of Dearborn Heights,” Carpenter said.

I think they’ll be able to get the map in as evidence. If they do, this would strengthen their argument that Wafer truly acted in self-defense and out of fear given the type of neighborhood within which he lives. Of course I’m just speculating here, but I’ve heard it argued that McBride went to wafers house because in her drunken state she may have thought that it was her residence given how similar they look. Plausible argument? Again, the answer depends the level of bias.

Trial starts June 2nd, 2014.