(DETROIT) — The prosecution rested its case Wednesday in the murder trial of a suburban Detroit man accused of fatally shooting an unarmed teenager.
Theodore Wafer, 55, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Renisha McBride, 19, after she showed up on his porch in Dearborn Heights during the early morning of Nov. 2, 2013.
Wafer sat quietly at the defense table Wednesday, the fifth day of his trial, as he listened to testimony from Dr. Kilak Kesha, an assistant medical examiner from Wayne County.
Kesha described McBride’s brain as “pulpified” and how the bullet wound the teen suffered proved catastrophic. He also told the jury that he wasn’t able to discern any other injuries.
A photo of pellets removed from McBride’s brain during the autopsy was also shown. Alcohol and marijuana were also found in McBride’s system, Kesha testified.
Where McBride was before she was fatally shot on Wafer’s porch — and the screen door through which the fatal bullet was apparently fired — will be decisive during the trial.
Whether Wafer’s screen door was torn from a break-in attempt or if it was damaged from the bullets he allegedly fired at McBride will be a key question in the case, which is reminiscent of the George Zimmerman trial in Florida.
On Tuesday, Detective Sgt. Shawn Kolonich of the Michigan State Police testified that there was no feasible way Wafer could have accidentally fired his shotgun at McBride.
Under a 2006 Michigan self-defense law, a homeowner has the right to use force during a break-in. Otherwise, a person must prove his or her life was in danger.
McBride was shot in the face, falling on her back, with her feet facing Wafer’s door, prosecutors said.
Wafer told police he didn’t know his gun was loaded and said he shot the unarmed teen by accident, according to a recording played to jurors last week.
“What happened here?” Sgt. Rory McManmon asked, according to the recording.
“A consistent knocking on the door, and I’m trying to look through the windows, but every time I look through the windows and the door it’s banging somewhere else,” Wafer said on the recording. “So I open up the door, kind of like who is this? And the gun discharged.”
“I didn’t know there was a round in there,” he tells McManmon on the recording. “I don’t get it. Who’s knocking on your door at 4:30 in the morning? Bang, bang, bang — somebody wanting in.”
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Sarah Anderson, Deseret News
Brianna Owczarza & Meg McLeod, CNN
Lorenzo D'Agostino and Hilary Clarke, CNN
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