#TheodoreWafer: Was McBride seeking help or trying to break and enter

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Good evening:

Was Renisha McBride banging on Theodore Wafer’s door at 4:20 am to obtain assistance or was she trying to break in?

I believe she was seeking assistance because she was making a lot of noise.

Noise attracts attention. Burglars prefer silence.

The defense claims she was trying to break in.

Judge Hathaway recessed the trial for the weekend before the defense completed the direct examination of its firearms expert, David Balash. He disagrees with the prosecution’s expert, Sgt. Shawn Kolonich, who testified on Tuesday that the muzzle of the shotgun was 8 feet from McBride’s face when Wafer pulled the trigger. Balash said the distance was only 2 feet.

Defense expert Dr. Werner Spitz, the former Wayne County Medical Examiner who testified ahead of Balash, agreed with him. Dr. Spitz based his opinion on the presence of white flecks of gunpowder in McBride’s hair. He spotted them in photographs taken at the autopsy.

Two feet from the muzzle is easier to spin as more favorable to the defense than the prosecution, but I do not believe the disagreement regarding distance is going to affect the verdict because her position relative to the door when Wafer opened it could have been anywhere within that 6 foot range, regardless of her intent.

Dr. Spitz also testified that he noticed that both of McBride’s hands appeared to be swollen in the autopsy photographs. He said the swelling was likely caused by McBride banging on the screen door.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Dr. Kilak Kesha, the assistant medical examiner, testified that there was significant blood on the teen’s right hand and a trace of blood on her left one but no injuries to her hands.

I agree that the swollen condition of Mcbride’s hands is likely due to her banging on the door. Unlike others, who argue that her swollen hands help the defense because they confirm that she was attempting to break into Wafer’s house, I think the evidence helps the prosecution because it confirms that she was attempting to wake up the occupant so that he would come to the door and she could ask him for assistance.

Burglars with crime in mind prefer silent entries to noisy ones that would awaken the dead from their eternal sleep and bring down the heat.

We will have to wait until Monday morning to find out if Wafer is going to testify.

Have a safe weekend everyone.

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29 Responses to #TheodoreWafer: Was McBride seeking help or trying to break and enter

  1. Malisha says:

    Something else occurs to me. McBride could have been knocking in a more restrained manner for, say, five minutes before banging. SHE DID NOT HAVE HER CELL PHONE. She might have needed to call 911 or her friends or family to pick her up, and didn’t have her cell phone, so she needed to knock to get someone else (who didn’t even have to open the door!) to call for her. She could have finally graduated to banging hard after trying in a more restrained way, who knows. She might have been screaming, “HELP HELP HELP PLEASE HELP” too; he wouldn’t reveal that to the cops when he had already killed her.

    • Yes, I really don’t believe that her banging on the door, no matter how loud, or her location and distance from the muzzle of his shotgun matter in this case.

      She was seeking assistance by making her presence known as loudly as she could and he was not in any danger when he unlocked and opened his front door and shot her through the locked screen door.

      Assuming for the sake of argument that he actually believed he was in imminent danger of death or serious injury, his belief was unreasonable. He should have remained behind his locked inner door and called 911.

  2. MKX says:

    IMO, Wafer let his primal brain stem overcome what is supposed to be the noblest attribute of a human – compassion for another.

    And how ironic that many who support Wafer in their racist rants on the Freep comments section call the group they attribute to McBride “animals”. For it is an animal that lashes out in primal fear without using reason.

    In just world, Wafer, Dunne and Zimmerman should be put in a cell and have to listen to this:


  3. Malisha says:

    As we become an increasingly armed and dangerous society, I think we’re going to need laws about whom we’re allowed to shoot and when. I envision the laws at first going something like this:

    1. You can shoot someone in your house when:
    They say something you don’t like;
    They’re not pregnant; and
    You’re not Black.

    2. You can shoot someone near or visible from your house when:
    They look suspicious;
    They’re not pregnant; and
    They’re Black but you’re not.

    3. You can shoot someone in your neighborhood when:
    You first call the police and slander them;
    They’re not pregnant; and
    They don’t respect you and they’re Black and you’re not (except for a great-great-grandfather in a photograph with other people).

    4. You can shoot someone NOT in your neighborhood when:
    They play loud music;
    They’re not pregnant; and
    You’re shitting bricks.

    • crustyolemothman says:

      Malisha, I can see the NRA sending a copy of your post to their legislative committee asap…. The only error that I see in your wording is the part where you say “They’re not pregnant; and”, the NRA version will be worded as follows, “They’re not pregnant; and if they are black and pregnant you’re are allowed two additional shots to ensure you hit your target …

  4. MKX says:

    It is crystal clear to me that McBride was loudly knocking on the door of Wafer’s home because she needed help or shelter.

    The only factor in Wafer’s defense is the question?

    Were the acts of McBride to the point wherein a reasonable person would feel their life is in danger such that they had to pull a trigger of a shotgun, although they had that gun and were behind a most secured door in the home before they consciously decided to open it and fire.


    And note that it was not out of normal in Metro Detroit for a salesman, policeman, paper delivery man, UPS man etc…to try to open the outer screen door so that they could knock on the more solid inner door.

    You want to know why you do that?

    The cheap ass outer doors will often release of their replaceable screens or window, if one knocks too hard on them.

    I had a 250 customer Detroit Free Press route when I was going to WSU and was “expected” to put the paper inside the screen door at the delivery time of 5AM.

    So I guess I was fair game for a Wafer because I would have really tried to open the screen door. The fear and paranoia has got to stop. And those who are not rational enough to keep it in check need to be put away.

    Exhibit A: George Zimmerman was allowed to prowl our streets with a gun in search of more “suspects”. That guy is a nut ball and menace to society.

    Nothing McBride did or caused leads me to believe she was doing anything but knocking to get attention.

    Oh, and my neighbor from across the street is an example of being reasonable and rational. She dropped her Fed ID badge and went into her home. Knowing how hard it is to be without that badge, I picked it up and followed her in the early hours of the morning. Her home has an outer screen door and inner door. I opened the screen and knocked loudly on the inner door. In a scared voice she said “I don’t know you and want you to leave”. To which I replied “I have your badge that you dropped and am going to leave it on the stoop”

    My point is that reasonable people, if they have cause for fear, make an attempt at communication to assess a situation.

    If we let people just blast away due to a primal brain stem impulse, then may God help us all.

    • Malisha says:

      AND think of this, if the “this neighborhood is crime-ridden” defense is true: Here’s an injured, drunk, disoriented young woman in a bad neighborhood in the wee hours. Perhaps she was wandering around trying to find her car when a REAL criminal-intent prowler spied her and decided to victimize her in some way. She could have run up and banged on Wafer’s door to escape an assault. Then the shotgun blast might have caused the would-be assailant to flee.

  5. fauxmccoy says:

    so fred — i am interested in your opinion on professionals still practicing at the age of 87, world reknowned or no.

    i ask because i have real thoughts on the issue. my folks were both professionals. my dad gave up his CPA license at 70 because he considered himself to be impaired by his age to memorize every annual change to the IRS code as he was able to do previously. my mom gave up her RN license at 76 because the thought of CE units just made her tired to think about. she had been in upper management for over 20 years and no hands on care for about the same length of time. they were both wise enough to realize when their age was a hindrance to providing the best of service to those who paid them.

    clearly, you retired far earlier than 87, which is only reasonable. i found myself really pondering the competency of an 87 year old physician. i know i would not choose one for my personal care, i would not have the confidence in their knowledge of current medical developments. this guy could not even read the headings on the text book he wrote himself and yet the defense wants us to trust that he can diagnose via B&W photographs. he was forced to recant a number of the points he made.

    so — any thoughts? would you choose such an ‘expert’? how old is too old to be practicing?

    inquiring minds etc., etc.,

    • bettykath says:

      I’m not Fred but I’m older than dirt and retired about 3 times.

      I think the retired ME was chosen because of his CV and reputation in the hopes that it would give his testimony additional weight.

      Each job from which I retired was less demanding than the one before. At this point. I would take on a job that I used to do only on a part-time and temporary basis. I’d be relying on the knowledge and skills that I used to use full time. I know I’ve slowed down. Some days I accept it. Some days I don’t.

      • fauxmccoy says:

        are you older than 87? honestly, you don’t have to answer. i am joking and want to know the official age of dirt 😉

        obviously, i think folks can work in a professional (by which i specifically mean law, medicine, engineering, accounting) in their 70s. other jobs with less demanding credentials i think can be done as long as the worker is able to do the job. i seriously question the abilities of an 87 year old physician. would you choose one for your primary care?

        • bettykath says:

          My age tends to vary. sometimes I’m 26, sometimes decades older, but, no, I’m not 87. I don’t even have a primary care physician. They’re basically pill pushers, not health pushers. I had one primary care physician a number of years ago. She was in her 80s, sharp as a tack. She readily diagnosed a long standing problem that several other physicians tried to treat with pills. Well, she prescribed, too, but her prescription was the only one that was appropriate.

      • Malisha says:

        The ME might also have been hired because others chose not to take the engagement.

        • fauxmccoy says:

          all i’m saying is that when it is more likely that you will be performing CPR on your doc than your doc on you … it may be time for the doc to call it quits. 🙂

          you make a good point as well.

    • Tough question.

      I don’t believe there should be an automatic cut-off age after which a person is presumed to have lost necessary skills.

      Unfortunately, some people are slow to realize they have lost necessary skills.

      I would not seek out someone who is 87-years-old to testify as an expert.

      • fauxmccoy says:

        thanks, fred. i would have to agree with you about no enforced cut off age, everybody is different – i saw different rates of decline with my own parents.

        i do know if i were on the jury and this guy was trotted out as an expert who worked the kennedy assassination, it would give me pause. that happened before i was born and i am not exactly young anymore.

        when it was obvious that he could not read his own headings in his textbook, i thought — we have a word for that it is ‘legally blind’. as one who is extremely near sighted and legally blind without my specs, i am required to wear them to drive but this guy with his gargantuan ego was making diagnoses on grainy B&W photos which were clearly wrong.

        now, you have freely admitted to the ‘gargantuan egos’ of lawyers and doctors are no different. that is all reasonable to me, what it takes to just get through school and state exams is beyond what most folks can do. then, there is the actual practice of those professions where people’s lives hang in the balance by your efforts alone. engineers and CPAs although their course is just as rigorous seem to attract different personality types. there is nothing i love more than seeing doctor vs. lawyer in a courtroom. it feels like some roman gladiator sport to me 🙂

  6. Dave says:

    There are other possibilities. Maybe she was looking for drugs. Maybe she was playing a stupid prank–the old knock-on-the-door-and-hide. There is no real evidence to support any of these scenarios and one is about as likely as another

  7. racerrodig says:

    Lets face it, every burglary we’ve ever heard about, whether on the internet, on the news or in a newspaper, has the suspect making as much racket as possible. Every one……!! I even heard that some of them use those air horns like they use at football games !!

    Like this

    As you say Two sides, “Puhleeze” The defense thinks they can turn this into a “3 Stooges” skit with multiple “suspects” making as much noise as possible. I did love the one line from yesterday I believe where that was brought up and the witness said to the effect …..

    “I guess that’s the person he should have shot then,” when talking about an alleged person trying to get in the side door.

    Hell……when I’m done working in my shop and my wife and son are asleep, I make every effort NOT to wake them when I go in . I’m sure if I needed help however I’d make some sort of noise.

    Being a cops son and all, and having all those conversations with dad, I can safely say this is a desperate and pathetic defense.

    • MKX says:

      When I had a 250 customer Detroit Free Press route to help fund my tuition while going to WSU, it was “expected” that I try the outer door and put the paper behind it and close it. I would do this as quietly as possible because it was about 5AM.

      So, using the defense “logic” I should have been shot because I was perceived as creeping up and trying open a door.

      And it is also well known by those who actually do interact with neighbors, unlike what this creep appears to be, to try to open the outer screen door and knock on the inner door BECAUSE those flimsy outer door will often vibrate and cause the screens or windows to come loose. I will tell you for a fact, that the PD will, if they can, open a screen door and pound on the inner door.

      So they get shot for doing their job too?

      Wafer has two intentional acts to consider:

      A) He intentionally opened the much more secure inner door

      B) He raised his gun and fired

      How does loud pounding on a screen door that might have made a screen comes lose warrant doing A and B because his life or body was in danger?

      Come the F on, now.

      • Dave says:

        We don’t yet know what else Ms McBride and her possible companion may have done or said. We’ve yet to hear Wafer’s testimony. It had better be really good.

  8. Two sides to a story says:

    It truly insults the intelligence of normal and reasonable people to suggest that a middle-class young lady with $100 in her pocket and her own car, whether sober or high as a kite, would even consider breaking into a house at 4 AM after a recent car accident.

    Puhleeze. I will be SO glad when this trial is over and I hope the jury is a heckuva lot smarter than Fogen’s.

    • fauxmccoy says:

      all good point, two sides. although i am sure there are many who in spite of all evidence would respond “well, how do you think she got that hundred bucks?”

    • Dave says:

      The defendant had no way of knowing what was in her pocket, what sort of family she came from, or what might have happened to her 4 hours ago. The key question is “What, if anything, did she or her possible companion say or do that would have put Wafer in reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily harm?”

      Court is in session at 9AM EST tomorrow. It should be very interesting.

    • butterflydreamer2 says:

      I believe they are using the same defense tactics we saw in the case against Trayvon. A Black young woman, drunk and on drugs, up to no good, walking around for over 3 hours in an almost all white neighborhood at 4 am, pounding on the front door, with $100 in her pocket. She must have been trying to break in his home, why else is she in this neighborhood.

      Mr Wafer hears banging at the front door, side door, window, and is in fear for his life, he believes they are breaking into the house, can’t find his cell phone, grabs his gun he believes is unloaded, opens the front door to confront 3 people trying to break into his home who could be armed. He shoots the young lady on the porch in the face and kills her, and claims self defense.

      It’s her fault, she should have been home sleep, instead if drinking and using drugs. She got into an accident, and instead of calling someone to pick her up, she walks around casing houses for three hours, until she stumbles upon Mr Wafers house, and decides to break in along with a couple of others that have met up with her along the way.

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