- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - More than two dozen witnesses are expected to be called at the June trial of a Detroit-area man charged with second-degree murder after shooting a drunk, unarmed young woman on his porch.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Qiana Lillard on Wednesday scheduled the trial for Theodore Wafer to start June 2 and she said it will take two weeks. A not guilty plea was entered for Wafer and his bond was continued.

Wafer fatally shot 19-year-old Renisha McBride through his screen door before dawn on Nov. 2 at his Dearborn Heights home. He has said he feared for his safety.

Earlier that morning, McBride smashed her car into a parked car about a half-mile away in Detroit. Witnesses say she was injured but walked away. The autopsy revealed a very high blood-alcohol level.


Defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter told reporters after the hearing that she has “a lot of motions to file” but declined to comment further about the case.

During the hearing, Carpenter said that the defense plans to call two or three expert witnesses during the trial.

Civil rights groups have suggested race may have played a role in the shooting, but prosecutors haven’t presented any evidence so far to make that connection. Wafer is white; McBride was black.

Wafer, an airport maintenance worker, called 911 around 4:30 a.m. and said he had shot someone who was banging on his door. More than three hours earlier, McBride had crashed her car into a parked car in a residential neighborhood, about a half-mile away in Detroit.

A witness has said McBride was bleeding and holding her head. She apparently walked away from the scene before an ambulance arrived. It’s still unclear, at least publicly, what she did between the time of the car wreck and her arrival on Wafer’s porch.

An autopsy found McBride had a blood-alcohol level of about 0.22, more than twice the legal limit for driving. She also had been smoking marijuana.