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153828 - People v Theodore Paul Wafer

The People of the State of Michigan,
 
Timothy A. Baughman
 
Plaintiff-Appellee,
 
v
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
 
 
(Wayne – Hathaway, D.)
 
Theodore Paul Wafer,
 
Jacqueline J. McCann
 
Defendant-Appellant.
 

Summary

In the early morning hours of November 2, 2013, 19-year-old Renisha McBride, appeared at the defendant’s Dearborn Heights home a few hours after being involved in a car accident. She pounded on the doors of the home—alternating between the front and side doors. The defendant woke up startled and retrieved a firearm he kept in his home. He would later tell the police that, when he opened the front door, McBride ran at him and he discharged his weapon, killing her. He called 9-1-1. In speaking with the police, the defendant gave inconsistent versions of the incident. At a trial on charges of second-degree murder, statutory manslaughter, and felony-firearm, the defendant claimed that he acted in self-defense, believing that someone was trying to break into his home. The jury found the defendant guilty of all charges. The Court of Appeals, in a split decision, affirmed. The Supreme Court has directed oral argument to address whether the trial court erred by denying the defense request for a jury instruction on the rebuttable presumption of MCL 780.951, which applies when a defendant uses deadly force against an individual who is in the process of breaking into the defendant’s dwelling, and, if there was instructional error, whether it was harmless.