DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — A young, drunk woman fatally shot on a man’s porch in suburban Detroit was hurt, scared and confused a few hours earlier when she crashed her vehicle into a parked car, a witness testified Wednesday.
Carmen Beasley provided details about the hours preceding the death of Renisha McBride, 19, who was shot in the face by a 54-year-old homeowner in the dark, early morning of Nov. 2.
A Dearborn Heights judge is holding a hearing to determine if there’s enough evidence to send Theodore Wafer to trial on a second-degree murder charge. Defense attorneys claim he feared for his life, but prosecutors say the shooting was not justified.
Beasley said she heard a “boom” outside her Detroit home about 1 a.m. and discovered that her car had been smashed. She called 911, went outside and found McBride, who had walked away but returned to the scene.
McBride was bleeding and pressing her hands to her head, Beasley testified.
“She couldn’t find her phone. She was patting her pockets. … She just kept saying she wanted to get home,” Beasley said.
Beasley went back into her house to call an ambulance, but McBride had walked away again by the time help arrived.
McBride was “discombobulated” and appeared to be in a “confused state of not knowing where she was and not being able to give a phone number or anything,” said Beasley, who believed the young woman was drunk.
There was no testimony about where McBride went during the next few hours as rain fell and temperatures dipped to the 40s. But she somehow ended up blocks away on Wafer’s porch in Dearborn Heights. Around 4:30 a.m., he called 911 to report that he had shot someone who was “banging on my door.”
A photo of McBride’s legs taken by police showed her left foot had broken through the sole of her boot.
Detective Sgt. Steve Gurka said Wafer’s Mossberg shotgun was found inside near the front door with the spent shell still inside the firearm. A gun case was found on the floor in another area of the house.
Dr. Kilak Kesha, who conducted the autopsy, testified that McBride was shot in the face at close range. He said her blood-alcohol level was about 0.22, more than twice the legal limit for driving, but probably was even higher before she was shot, as levels drop over time. He said she had been using marijuana.
During cross-examination, defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter focused on alcohol, drugs and a possible head injury from the car crash.
“Could a person get more aggressive after a brain injury?” she asked.
“That’s possible,” Kesha replied, later saying McBride “absolutely” could have been quiet and withdrawn while drunk.
In the courtroom, McBride’s supporters wore shirts bearing her image and the message, “Don’t shoot. Call 911.” They wish Wafer had called police instead of shooting McBride from inside his home.
(AP Photo: Walter Ray Simmons, father of Renisha McBride, listens to testimony at Theodore Wafer’s preliminary examination before District Court Judge David Turfe in Dearborn Heights, Mich., Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013.)