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Murder of Renisha McBride

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Murder of Renisha McBride
Location of Dearborn Heights in the state of Michigan.
LocationWest Outer Drive, Dearborn Heights, Michigan, U.S.
Coordinates42°20′25″N 83°15′20″W / 42.340243°N 83.255449°W / 42.340243; -83.255449[1]
DateNovember 2, 2013 (2013-11-02)
4:42 am
Attack type
Murder by shooting
VictimRenisha McBride, aged 19
PerpetratorTheodore Wafer
MotiveErroneous fear that McBride was trespassing
VerdictGuilty of all charges
Sentence17 to 32 years in prison
Litigation$10 million lawsuit filed against Wafer by Renisha McBride's family[2]

The murder of Renisha Marie McBride (April 11, 1994 –November 2, 2013), a 19-year-old African American teenager, occurred on November 2, 2013, in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, United States. Renisha McBride crashed her car while intoxicated at a street in Detroit, and then walked to a neighborhood in Dearborn Heights where she knocked on the door of a house. The homeowner, 54-year-old Theodore Wafer, shot McBride with a shotgun. Wafer contended that the shooting was accidental and that he thought his home was being broken into after he heard her banging on his door at 4:42 in the morning.[3]

Wafer was convicted of second-degree murder on August 7, 2014,[4] and received a sentence of 17 to 32 years in prison. His sentence was re-affirmed in 2022.[5]


Shortly before 1:00 am on November 2, 2013, McBride crashed her car at Bramell and Majestic on the west side of Detroit. A 911 caller reported that a woman had been speeding down the street, struck a parked car, got out of the vehicle, and then left on foot. Police initially considered the incident a low priority, so no officers were immediately dispatched. Forty minutes later, another call was placed indicating that the driver had returned. EMS arrived on the scene, but McBride had again walked away from the scene and was not treated.[6] The owner of the parked car, who encountered McBride and called 911, told police that McBride was "discombobulated" and appeared to be in a "confused state of not knowing where she was and not being able to give a phone number or anything."[7]

Shortly before 4:42 am, McBride was shot by homeowner Theodore Paul Wafer, 54, on the porch of his Dearborn Heights home, more than three hours after she crashed her car about a mile away.[8][9][10] Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy stated Wafer opened his front door and fired a shotgun blast through a screen door, hitting McBride in her head.[8]

It is unclear what McBride was doing during the three hours between the crash and the fatal shooting. Her family claimed she was looking for help after becoming disoriented by the crash, during which she may have sustained a head injury.[11][12] Wafer initially stated to police that he thought his home was being broken into and that he had accidentally fired his 12-gauge shotgun.[9]

Legal Proceeding[edit]

On November 15, 2013, the Wayne County's prosecutor office announced its decision to prosecute Wafer for second-degree murder, manslaughter, and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony.[8][13] Wafer faced a maximum possible sentence of life imprisonment for the second-degree murder charge and 15 years for manslaughter, and an additional two years for the felony gun charge.[14]

The trial began on July 21, 2014.[3] Wafer was found guilty of all three charges on August 7, 2014.[15] On September 3, 2014, Wafer was sentenced to 17 to 32 years of prison. He received 15 to 30 years for second-degree murder, and a mandatory two-year sentence for the felony firearms charge.[2][16] In June 2015 McBride’s parents settled with Wafer.[citation needed] In February 2022, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered that Wafer be resentenced stating that Wafer's double jeopardy rights were violated by being convicted of two things: second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter based on one act.[17] On June 22, 2022, Wafer was sentenced to 17 years. He will be eligible to apply for parole in 2031.[18]


McBride's murder is one of several deaths of African-Americans protested by the Black Lives Matter movement.[19][20]

Comparisons have also been made to the September 14, 2013, shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell.[21] Ferrell, who was African American, was shot 10 times and killed by a white police officer, Randall Kerrick. Like McBride, Ferrell had been involved in an automobile accident. He was allegedly running toward Kerrick when he was shot. Kerrick was charged with voluntary manslaughter.[22] His trial ended in a hung jury and he was not retried.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Davey, Monica (November 15, 2013). "Fatal Shooting of Black Woman Outside Detroit Stirs Racial Tensions". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 16, 2013. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  2. ^ a b Foley, Aaron. State seeks 17 years for Michigan porch shooter, Yahoo News, August 28, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Abbey-Lambertz, Kate (July 23, 2014). "Opening Statements Reveal Shooter's State Of Mind In Renisha McBride Case". Huffington Post.
  4. ^ "Detroit porch killer Theodore Wafer guilty of murder". BBC. August 7, 2014. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  5. ^ "17-year sentence stands for man in shooting death of woman on Dearborn Heights porch". Detroit Free Press. June 22, 2022. Retrieved April 18, 2023.
  6. ^ Anderson, Elisha (November 12, 2013). "New details emerge on Renisha McBride's accident in hours before her slaying". Detroit Free Press. ISSN 1055-2758. Archived from the original on November 16, 2013.
  7. ^ "Renisha McBride was 'discombobulated' before Theodore Wafer shot her: witness". New York Daily News. December 18, 2013.
  8. ^ a b c Burns, Gus (November 15, 2013). "Homeowner charged with second-degree murder in killing of Renisha McBride". MLive. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  9. ^ a b Damron, Gina (November 14, 2013). "Renisha McBride highly intoxicated when killed; prosecutor plans Friday announcement". Detroit Free Press. ISSN 1055-2758. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  10. ^ Brand-Williams, Oralandar (November 11, 2013). "Autopsy leads to more questions in Dearborn Heights shooting". Detroit News. Archived from the original on November 15, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  11. ^ "Renisha McBride, 19, was shot in face by Detroit homeowner". BBC. November 12, 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  12. ^ "Dearborn Heights man to face murder trial for Renisha McBride porch killing". Mlive. December 19, 2013. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  13. ^ "Trial Date". The Guardian. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  14. ^ Abbey-Lambertz, Kate. Trial Date Set For Theodore Wafer, Man Charged In Renisha McBride Shooting, Huffington Post, April 30, 2014.
  15. ^ "Theodore Wafer Found Guilty Of Second Degree Murder In Renisha McBride Porch Shooting « CBS Detroit". Detroit.cbslocal.com. August 7, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2015.
  16. ^ Foley, Aaron. Tearful judge gives man 17 years for Michigan porch shooting, Reuters, September 3, 2014.
  17. ^ Wimbley, Randy (February 17, 2022). "Ted Wafer to get re-sentenced in Renisha McBride's murder after state supreme court tosses decision". FOX 2 Detroit. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  18. ^ White, Ed (June 22, 2022). "17-year sentence stands for man in shooting death of woman on Dearborn Heights porch". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  19. ^ Anderson, Michelle (December 13, 2014). "Muskegon-area churches to participate in 'Black Lives Matter' movement on Sunday". mLive Media Group. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  20. ^ "I am Renisha McBride and my life matters". Black Lives Matter. Archived from the original on May 25, 2015. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  21. ^ Ng, Christina (November 8, 2013). "Renisha McBride's Family Wants Teen's Shooter Behind Bars". ABC News. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  22. ^ King, Jessica; Stapleton, AnneClair (September 16, 2013). "Charlotte police kill ex-FAMU player who may have been running to them for help". CNN. Retrieved November 17, 2013.