A white homeowner who gunned down an unarmed 19-year-old black woman on his porch last year has been sentenced to at least 17 years in prison.

Theodore Wafer was convicted of second-degree murder in August for killing Renisha McBride outside his home in Dearborn Heights in Detroit, Michigan home in the early hours of November 2.

Theodore Wafer

Theodore Wafer

Before getting his sentence, 55-year-old Wafer apologized to McBride’s family, saying he killed a woman who was ‘too young to leave this world’.

‘I will carry that guilt and sorrow forever,’ said Wafer, often pausing to control his emotions.

Wafer was convicted last month after a nine-day trial that centered on whether he had a reasonable and honest belief that his safety was in peril.

He testified that he was awakened by pounding on his doors and shot McBride–who was found to be extremely drunk–because he feared for his life. But a jury rejected his claim of self-defense.

Renisha McBride

Renisha McBride

Wafer is white and McBride was black, and some wondered whether race may have been a factor, likening it to the shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin–but race was hardly mentioned at the trial.

Prosecutors recommended at least 17 years in prison for Wafer, including two years for unlawful use of a gun. Defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter asked for as few as six years in prison.


‘I am confident that if you weren’t going to prison today, you would never commit another crime,’ Judge Dana Margaret Hathaway told Wafer in court on Wednesday.

‘I fully recognize that you did not bring these circumstances to your doorstep. They arrived there. But once you did, you made the choices that brought you here today.’


After the sentencing, McBride’s sister, Jasmine, told NBC: ‘I’m very happy. I believe justice was served and I believe my sister can rest peacefully now.’

No one knows why McBride ended up at Wafer’s home about 4.30am, although prosecutors speculated she may have been seeking help. She had crashed her car into a parked car about a half-mile away in Detroit around 1am. An autopsy found she was extremely drunk.

Wafer opened the front door and shot McBride in the face, firing through a screen door. He first suggested to police that it was an accident but later admitted to intentionally pulling the trigger.

The jury convicted Wafer of murder, manslaughter and a gun-related charge on August 7. He will be eligible for parole after serving the minimum sentence.

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