Jury selection began on Monday in the murder trial of the Detroit man who shot unarmed, 19-year-old Renisha McBride in the face last November.
Thomas Wafer, 54, is charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, and committing a felony with a firearm in the fatal shooting of Renisha McBride, who walked up onto his porch hours after being involved in a car accident. Wafer claims he felt threatened and shot through his locked screen door but didn’t intend to kill McBride.
“My client has a very strong defense of this charge,” says defense attorney Mack Carpenter. “The likelihood of conviction is not that great.”
Wafer’s defense team will argue he was afraid of what he heard on his front porch.
However, NBC legal analyst Lisa Bloom says self-defense may be hard to argue. “This is certainly an unusual self-defense case because Theodore Wafer was in his home. The door was locked,” she says.
And according to the Wayne County Medical Examiner report, there was no evidence of “close range discharge.” Additionally, Wafer admitted during the 911 call that he shot someone who was asking for help.
Bloom says more evidence is likely to be presented at trial. Judge Dana Hathaway denied the defense’s request to present social media photos of McBride posing with an apparent gun and some weed.
“Our case is blown to pieces if you don’t allow me to argue to the jury that she could have been up to no good,” attorney Cheryl Carpenter told AP last month.
Bloom says she’d be surprised if Wafer was acquitted but added, at the least, the jury will likely convict him of manslaughter. If convicted of second-degree murder, he could face life in prison.
The trial is expected to last two to three weeks.