DEARBORN HEIGHTS — The Michigan Supreme Court unanimously threw out part of a Dearborn Heights man’s 2014 conviction in the shooting death of a woman the previous year, saying his constitutional rights were violated.
The court, which began reviewing the case in October, decided that Ted Wafer, who was sentenced to 17 years in prison, will get a new sentencing hearing because the jury was allowed to convict him of both second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the 2013 death of Renisha McBride.
Justice David Viviano wrote that the court was aware of no cases in the state in which defendants were convicted of and received punishments for both charges on the basis of a single killing.
Wafer, now 63-years-old, had opened his front door and shot McBride, 19, through a screen door when he said he was awakened by pounding on the door and “feared for his life”, although he did not call 911.
In the aftermath of the shooting, some people likened the situation to the 2012 shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin as Wafer is White and McBride was Black, but race was hardly mentioned in the trial.
Prosecutors speculated that McBride, who had crashed her car hours earlier, might have been confused when she arrived on Wafer’s porch.
The case will return to Wayne County court and the Prosecutor’s Office confirmed it will be requesting the same sentence of 17 years, of which Wafer has already served eight years.
Wafer was denied a new trial in 2018.