Theodore Wafer, the White suburban Detroit man who shot and killed Renisha McBride last fall, was sentenced on Wednesday to serve at least 17 years in prison. Wafer apologized to the family of McBride in attendance just before his sentence was delivered and the family agreed that the decision was fair.
Wafer, 55, shot the 19-year-old McBride on November 2, 2013, through his screen door, after she knocked in the middle of the night for help with an accident. Wafer said he shot McBride out of fear and has admitted he was drinking the night before; however, his claims of self-defense was not enough to convince the jury of his innocence.
“I apologize from the bottom of my heart. I am truly sorry for your loss,” Wafer said to the family. “From my fear, I caused a loss of life who was too young to leave this world. And for that, I carry that guilt and sorrow forever.”
Third Circuit Court Judge Dana Margaret Hathaway heard an impassioned plea from Wafer’s defense attorney, who sought a lower charge of manslaughter versus the second-degree murder charge that ultimately led to his sentence. Judge Hathaway was clear to acknowledge that she didn’t find Wafer to be a murderer but his actions were far too hasty and reckless.
Wafer was also charged and found guilty of manslaughter and a weapons felony charge in August. State prosecutors suggested that Wafer serve 17 years at a minimum, including two years for the unlawful use of a firearm.
The family feels that overall, the decision was just.
“I’m very happy. I believe justice was served and I believe my sister can rest peacefully now,” said McBride’s sister to NBC News.
Hathaway sentenced Wafer to 15 to 30 years on the second-degree murder charge, seven to 15 years on his manslaughter charge conviction, and two years for his felony firearms conviction.