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After two weeks of opening statements from the defense and prosecution, witness testimony, and closing arguments from both sides, a jury of 12 went to deliberations in the trial of Theodore Wafer — the man who killed 19-year-old Renisha McBride in November 2013.

In closing arguments, the prosecution said Wafer, who claims to have acted in self-defense, should have called police instead of becoming “judge, jury and executioner.” Prosecutors also emphasized that Wafer had other options instead of confronting McBride himself.

If you recall, McBride ended up on Wafer’s porch searching for help after she crashed her car on a Detroit street about a half-mile from Wafer’s suburban home. He fatally shot McBride in the face after she knocked on his door.

“She was a young girl looking for help,” prosecutor Patrick Muscat told jurors. “What he did had to be immediately necessary and it wasn’t. It was reckless. It was negligent. I don’t know how to describe it. It was horrific.”

Prosecutors also said Wafer handled his gun “like a toy.”

The shotgun used by Wafer “is a dangerous weapon and the way he handled it – he handled it like a toy, and as a result a 19-year-old is dead,” Muscat told jurors during closing arguments.

His defense painted a different story during the trial.

“He armed himself. He was getting attacked,” defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter said in her closing argument. “Put yourselves in his shoes at 4:30 in the morning.”

“In the heat of the moment our instincts are to survive,” she said. “He did not know it was a 19-year-old who got in a car crash at 1 a.m. What he knew was someone was trying to get in. It’s not for a good reason – it’s to hurt me.”

Wafer is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter for the killing.

The jury could convict him of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter or clear Wafer of all charges if it believes had a “reasonable and honest” belief that his life was at risk, even if he was wrong.

We’ll keep you updated with the latest in jury deliberations.


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