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Theodore Wafer‘s fate is up to a jury of his peers in the case of Renisha McBride‘s death.
The panel of seven people entered deliberation on Wednesday, ColorLines.com reports. They’ll be deciding whether or not Theodore had reason to believe that he and his home were in danger.
Theodore admits that he shot and killed Renisha last November after she knocked on his door looking for help.
The Los Angeles Times reports that he expressed feeling some measure of guilt in Renisha’s death in testimony earlier this week, when he reflected on the impact his actions had on her potential as a person. “It was devastating,” he said. “This poor girl, she had her whole life in front of her. I took that from her.”
He’s charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in Renisha’s death. Under Michigan law, homeowners are allowed to use deadly force if they think that someone is trying to break into the residence.
Theodore’s defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter argues that Renisha scared him by knocking on his door after she’d stumbled around his neighborhood for hours following a car accident. They claim that Renisha was banging so hard that the floor rattled and the windows shook.
According to the LA Times, that’s when the 55-year-old man grabbed his shotgun, loaded it and opened the door. He then opened fire through the screen, shooting the injured 19-year-old girl. “[It was] total reflex reaction, defending myself,” he explained when asked why he shot Renisha. “I wasn’t going to cower in my house, I didn’t want to be a victim.”
It’s interesting to note that there are reports Theodore loaded his 12-gauge shotgun because he’d claimed he didn’t know that there were any bullets in the weapon when he picked it up.
It’s not clear how this change will affect the jury’s decision at this time. The panel did not reach a decision on Wednesday, so deliberation will continue Thursday morning.