By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — Theodore Wafer, 63, of Dearborn Heights was resentenced to prison for the 2013 porch shooting of Renisha McBride.
Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Dana Hathaway on June 21 ordered Wafer to serve the same sentences of 15 to 30 years for second degree murder, 7 to 15 years for statutory manslaughter and two years for felony firearm. He has already served almost eight years of the minimum 17-year sentence.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office said Wafer will serve his sentence in the Michigan Department of Corrections.
“We are pleased with the Court’s resentencing of Mr. Wafer today,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said. “There were very sound reasons for the original sentence, and it was the wisest course to give the same sentence today.”
In February, the Michigan Supreme Court vacated the statutory manslaughter conviction and ordered a resentencing for Wafer in regard to double jeopardy.
The court’s opinion said, “conviction of both second-degree murder and statutory involuntary manslaughter for the death of a single victim violates the multiple-punishments strand of state and federal double-jeopardy jurisprudence.”
Although the statutory manslaughter charge was vacated, the time Wafer will serve in prison stays the same following the resentencing.
They also reversed the Court of Appeals judgment. Previously, the Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 unpublished opinion, affirmed Wafer’s convictions, rejecting his claims that the dual homicide convictions violated double jeopardy and that the trial court reversibly erred by denying his request for the jury instruction on the rebuttable presumption of MCL 780.951(1), their case summary said.
The Michigan State Supreme Court heard oral arguments from attorneys from both sides in October 2021 after Wafer appealed his convictions, alleging, among other things, that the multiple punishments for second-degree murder and statutory involuntary manslaughter violated the Double Jeopardy Clauses of the United States and Michigan constitutions, the February 2022 opinion said.
Jacqueline McCann with the Michigan Appellate Defender Office asked the court to dismiss statutory manslaughter and remand for resentencing on the second degree murder.
This was the second time the Supreme Court heard arguments for the case, previously denying the request to overturn Wafer’s conviction in 2018.
The initial incident occurred in at 4:40 a.m. Nov. 2, 2013, when McBride,19, was shot and killed on Wafer’s front porch after she crashed her vehicle and was searching for help.
McBride had marijuana and alcohol in her system at the time of the incident. Wafer said he shot the victim in self-defense because he thought she was trying to break into his house in the 16800 block of Outer Drive.
Wafer was found guilty in 2014, after a six-week jury trial. In June 2015, McBride’s family agreed to an undisclosed financial settlement, which was not released due to a confidentially agreement.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])