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Detroit

Man gets 17 years in porch shooting

Judge says race not tied to death

  • Theodore Wafer is led out of the courtroom by Wayne County Sheriff, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, 2014, in Detroit, after he was sentenced to at least 17 years in prison for killing an unarmed woman on his porch. During the trial, he said he shot 19-year-old Renisha McBride because he feared for his life, but a jury rejected Wafer's claim of self-defense. (AP Photo/Detroit News, Clarence Tabb Jr.)  DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT

    Theodore Wafer is led out of the courtroom by Wayne County Sheriff, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, 2014, in Detroit, after he was sentenced to at least 17 years in prison for killing an unarmed woman on his porch. During the trial, he said he shot 19-year-old Renisha McBride because he feared for his life, but a jury rejected Wafer's claim of self-defense. (AP Photo/Detroit News, Clarence Tabb Jr.) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT

  • Judge Dana Hathaway speaks during the sentencing hearing for Theodore Wafer, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, 2014, in Detroit. Wafer was sentenced to at least 17 years in prison on Tuesday for killing an unarmed Renisha McBride on his porch. During the trial, he said he shot the 19-year-old because he feared for his life, but a jury rejected Wafer's claim of self-defense. (AP Photo/Detroit News, Clarence Tabb Jr.)  DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT

    Judge Dana Hathaway speaks during the sentencing hearing for Theodore Wafer, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, 2014, in Detroit. Wafer was sentenced to at least 17 years in prison on Tuesday for killing an unarmed Renisha McBride on his porch. During the trial, he said he shot the 19-year-old because he feared for his life, but a jury rejected Wafer's claim of self-defense. (AP Photo/Detroit News, Clarence Tabb Jr.) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT

  • Jasmine McBride, 23, sister of Renisha, McBride reads an impact statement before the court during the sentencing hearing for Theodore Wafer, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, 2014, in Detroit. Wafer was sentenced to at least 17 years in prison on Tuesday for killing an unarmed Renisha McBride on his porch. During the trial, he said he shot the 19-year-old because he feared for his life, but a jury rejected Wafer's claim of self-defense. (AP Photo/Detroit News, Clarence Tabb Jr.)  DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT

    Jasmine McBride, 23, sister of Renisha, McBride reads an impact statement before the court during the sentencing hearing for Theodore Wafer, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, 2014, in Detroit. Wafer was sentenced to at least 17 years in prison on Tuesday for killing an unarmed Renisha McBride on his porch. During the trial, he said he shot the 19-year-old because he feared for his life, but a jury rejected Wafer's claim of self-defense. (AP Photo/Detroit News, Clarence Tabb Jr.) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT

  • Walter Simmons, father of Renisha McBride, speaks to reporters outside the courthouse before the sentencing hearing of Theodore Wafer, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, 2014, in Detroit. Wafer was sentenced to at least 17 years in prison on Tuesday for killing an unarmed Renisha McBride on his porch. During the trial, he said he shot the 19-year-old because he feared for his life, but a jury rejected Wafer's claim of self-defense. (AP Photo/Detroit News, Clarence Tabb Jr.)  DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT

    Walter Simmons, father of Renisha McBride, speaks to reporters outside the courthouse before the sentencing hearing of Theodore Wafer, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, 2014, in Detroit. Wafer was sentenced to at least 17 years in prison on Tuesday for killing an unarmed Renisha McBride on his porch. During the trial, he said he shot the 19-year-old because he feared for his life, but a jury rejected Wafer's claim of self-defense. (AP Photo/Detroit News, Clarence Tabb Jr.) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT

  • FILE - In this Aug. 4, 2014 file photo, Theodore Wafer, of Dearborn Heights, Mich., testifies in his own defense during his trial for the Nov. 2, 2013, killing of Renisha McBride in Detroit. Wafer was sentenced WednesdaySept. 3, 2014 to at least 17 years in prison for killing an unarmed woman who appeared on his porch before dawn. (AP Photo/Detroit News, Clarence Tabb Jr., File)

    FILE - In this Aug. 4, 2014 file photo, Theodore Wafer, of Dearborn Heights, Mich., testifies in his own defense during his trial for the Nov. 2, 2013, killing of Renisha McBride in Detroit. Wafer was sentenced WednesdaySept. 3, 2014 to at least 17 years in prison for killing an unarmed woman who appeared on his porch before dawn. (AP Photo/Detroit News, Clarence Tabb Jr., File)

  • Theodore Wafer is led out of the courtroom by Wayne County Sheriff, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, 2014, in Detroit, after he was sentenced to at least 17 years in prison for killing an unarmed woman on his porch. During the trial, he said he shot 19-year-old Renisha McBride because he feared for his life, but a jury rejected Wafer's claim of self-defense. (AP Photo/Detroit News, Clarence Tabb Jr.)  DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT
  • Judge Dana Hathaway speaks during the sentencing hearing for Theodore Wafer, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, 2014, in Detroit. Wafer was sentenced to at least 17 years in prison on Tuesday for killing an unarmed Renisha McBride on his porch. During the trial, he said he shot the 19-year-old because he feared for his life, but a jury rejected Wafer's claim of self-defense. (AP Photo/Detroit News, Clarence Tabb Jr.)  DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT
  • Jasmine McBride, 23, sister of Renisha, McBride reads an impact statement before the court during the sentencing hearing for Theodore Wafer, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, 2014, in Detroit. Wafer was sentenced to at least 17 years in prison on Tuesday for killing an unarmed Renisha McBride on his porch. During the trial, he said he shot the 19-year-old because he feared for his life, but a jury rejected Wafer's claim of self-defense. (AP Photo/Detroit News, Clarence Tabb Jr.)  DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT
  • Walter Simmons, father of Renisha McBride, speaks to reporters outside the courthouse before the sentencing hearing of Theodore Wafer, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, 2014, in Detroit. Wafer was sentenced to at least 17 years in prison on Tuesday for killing an unarmed Renisha McBride on his porch. During the trial, he said he shot the 19-year-old because he feared for his life, but a jury rejected Wafer's claim of self-defense. (AP Photo/Detroit News, Clarence Tabb Jr.)  DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT
  • FILE - In this Aug. 4, 2014 file photo, Theodore Wafer, of Dearborn Heights, Mich., testifies in his own defense during his trial for the Nov. 2, 2013, killing of Renisha McBride in Detroit. Wafer was sentenced WednesdaySept. 3, 2014 to at least 17 years in prison for killing an unarmed woman who appeared on his porch before dawn. (AP Photo/Detroit News, Clarence Tabb Jr., File)

A suburban Detroit man who killed an unarmed woman on his porch instead of calling police was sentenced Wednesday to at least 17 years in prison after telling the victim’s family he would carry “guilt and sorrow forever.”

Wayne County Judge Dana Hathaway followed the recommendation of prosecutors in the case of Theodore Wafer, who was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of 19-year-old Renisha McBride.

Wafer, 55, of Dearborn Heights opened his front door and shot McBride through a screen door Nov. 2. He said he was awakened by pounding before dawn and feared for his life. A jury rejected his self-defense claim.

“Although the evidence clearly showed that Miss McBride made some terrible choices that night, none of them justified taking her life,” the judge said. “I do not believe that you’re a cold-blooded murderer or that this case had anything to do with race or that you’re some sort of monster.

“I do believe that you acted out of some fear but mainly anger and panic,” Hathaway said. “An unjustified fear is never an excuse for taking someone’s life. ... So what do we have? One life gone and one life ruined.”

No one knows why McBride ended up at Wafer’s home about 4:30 a.m. Prosecutors speculated she may have been seeking help hours after crashing her car about half a mile away in Detroit. An autopsy revealed she was extremely drunk.

Wafer is white and McBride was black, and some wondered in the aftermath of the shooting whether race was a factor, likening it to the shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. But race was hardly mentioned at trial.

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