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Detroit Front Porch Shooting case: Day 1 End-of-Day Wrap-Up

Detroit Front Porch Shooting case: Day 1 End-of-Day Wrap-Up

Afternoon witnesses were Carmen Beasley, who interacted with McBride at crash site, and LEO Ruben Gonzalez, who was among first responders at shooting scene.

This afternoon I was helpfully directed to a live video stream of the Wafer trial, suggesting the streaming of the trial is not explicitly prohibited, as I had been led to believe Unfortunately the feed was of such low quality it was effectively useless. It seems even the provider recognized this, because after about an hour in the afternoon they cut off the feed entirely. We’ll see what happens tomorrow, I guess.

In summary of the afternoon, the state brought two witnesses:  Carmen Beasley, the woman whose husband’s parked car was struck by Renisha McBride in front of Beasley’s home several hours before McBride was shot by Wafer.  It was Beasley who first called 911, and who first communicated with the dazed and injured McBride.  This accident took place about a mile from Wafer’s home, the site of the shooting.

Also appearing was Dearborn police officer Ruben Gonzalez, who was among the first responders on the scene. Gonzalez interacted directly with Wafer, and helped to secure the crime scene.

OK, folks, that’s it for today. We’ll have more coverage of the Wafer trial tomorrow.

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

[NOTE: Images of trial postings from the live blog of the Detroit Free Press have been removed at their request.]


Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog (autographed copies available) and Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle). He holds many state-specific Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and produces free online self-defense law educational video- and podcasts at the Law of Self Defense University.

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Comments

Gremlin1974 | July 23, 2014 at 8:27 pm

I find it interesting that the prosecution asked a witness of McBride had a “Closed Head Injury”.

First of all how would she know, she was blood on the girls hand, not her head and I am guessing that she isn’t a MD or something similar.

Also, even if McBride did have a “closed head injury” there is no way Wafer could have known that, nor would it keep him from being able defend himself.

I’ll throw in my 2 cents, on the case as a whole.

Living in SE Michigan, I’m privy to the local media market, and have followed this case closely.

The 1st thing you have to take into account is this happened shortly after the Trayvon verdict.

The 2nd thing you have to take into account, and probably why we’re here today, is that the family, media, and local “civil rights” leaders held that she was shot because she was black. End of conversation.

3rd, everyone that live in suburban Detroit are keenly aware that “Detroit” can happen to you, anytime, anywhere, no matter how safe your street or neighborhood appears under the light of day.

4th, the defendant is a stereotypical middle aged, middle class, law abiding productive citizen, and has always been.
Woken, at 3 a.m from a dead sleep, from loud, intimidating banging on his door. Detroit was at his door.

He never imagined it was his turn. He didn’t ask for this.

He was scared. Opened the door with one hand, shotgun in the other, finger on the trigger.

Startled by what he saw, the gun went off. Accidental.

His defense attorney says that won’t fly in the wake of Trayvon, better go with self-defense.

In my opinion, his life is ruined, and will spend many years in prison because he failed to follow basic gun safety–no finger on the trigger unless you’re ready to shoot.

So why didn’t he know basic gun safety? He didn’t need to. He lived far enough away from Detroit, in a safe, middle-class neighborhood. Hoping Detroit would never come to his door. His hope ran out.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Browndog. | July 23, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Man has anyone every called you “direct and to the point” before, lol? Sadly, having family that lived in that area for years, I know that they shared your view.

      Browndog in reply to Gremlin1974. | July 23, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      3 million of us could be this guy, and we know it. He lived west of Detroit, I live north, in a buttoned up middle-class town. I go to bed at night rehearsing the drill–gun in the closet, shell in the sock drawer.

      A couple miles to the south, a couple to the west, Detroiters happen. Luckily to the east is a big lake and Canada. It helps, but does little to alleviate the moral stench that permeates outward from Detroit.

        “3 million of us could be this guy, and we know it.’

        it’s silly to blame this solely on “Detroit happens.”

        Would YOU have opened that door? At 4:30AM? Banging as described? Really? WHY?

        If so, you’re right, it COULD be you next–poor tactics lead to poor outcomes.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Browndog in reply to Andrew Branca. | July 23, 2014 at 9:24 pm

          You kinda just made my point.

          And yes, YOU DO OPEN THE DOOR….with a gun, if you feel you need one. In a Detroit suburb, self preservation tells you that’s probably a good idea.

          You really want to chastise me over poor tactics when I said, unequivocally that he used “poor tactics”, as you put it–and that’s why he’s going to jail.

          If Wafer hadn’t opened that door he’d not be on trial for 2nd degree murder, and he’d have been absolutely safe.

          Opening the door gains you exactly WHAT, tactically? Lose of cover? Lose of concealment? Vulnerability to attack? Revealing defensive capabilities to attackers?

          I’d wager that Wafer wishes he hadn’t opened that door.

          But, hey, it’s your life, use whatever tactics you like. There’s no law that says you HAVE to learn from Wafer’s mistakes.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          tom swift in reply to Andrew Branca. | July 23, 2014 at 9:50 pm

          And yes, YOU DO OPEN THE DOOR

          Why?

          When a similar scenario happened to me, I never considered opening the door. The drunk eventually wandered off, and I managed to stay out of the news.

          This was in the Boston ‘burbs, and not Detroit, but the principle seems similar (though less extreme, as my storm door wasn’t disassembled during the excitement). The door is my first line of defense, from both attack and mere annoyance. I keep the firepower in reserve in case the door is breached, but that’s never come close to happening.

          Browndog in reply to Andrew Branca. | July 23, 2014 at 9:54 pm

          Well, because it’s instinctive to open your door when someone is banging on it in the middle of the night.

          Maybe not where “y’all” are from, but around here we do–even if we don’t want to.

          Browndog in reply to Andrew Branca. | July 23, 2014 at 9:57 pm

          @Andrew- Jees ‘O Pete. This is the dead of night. Were not talking pre-planned, war gamed, battle field tactics.

          “Well, because it’s instinctive to open your door when someone is banging on it in the middle of the night.”

          Even when you’re so afraid of what might happen that you first arm yourself with a cocked-and-locked shotgun, and direct the muzzle at whatever face might appear once the door opens?

          Don’t be ridiculous.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Andrew Branca. | July 24, 2014 at 2:17 am

          Andrew, is the question in this case whether or not Wafer acted out of fear for his life or if it was reasonable for him to be in fear for his life? If so, is there an IQ threshold that has to be met before someone may lawfully be in fear for their life?

          rorschach256 in reply to Andrew Branca. | July 24, 2014 at 9:12 am

          Andrew, he may have opened the door because for all he knew his house might have been on fire or someone might have been hurt or something. until he opened up and looked out he didn’t know what was happening.

        sequester in reply to Browndog. | July 24, 2014 at 5:38 am

        One can argue that danger was increased by not opening or at least talking the door. Often burglars will knock on the door of a residence to see if it is occupied. If it is, they leave.

        One can also argue that Walker perceived McBride was trying to make forced entry since she persisted in violent attempts to attack the door. It can also be argued that the porch of the home, a contained area — was the safest place to potentially confront an intruder — rather than waiting for the intruder to penetrate the house. Confronting an armed intruder in the house was more dangerous to him and his family than a confrontation on the porch.

        The case is about politics as much as law. Walker if he had been better versed in the law of self-defense would not have used the words accident.

        Another person who should have bought your book. But given the politics here, he would still be on trial, to appease pressure groups.

    “His defense attorney says that won’t fly in the wake of Trayvon, better go with self-defense.”

    Cheryl Carpenter is right. “Accident” under these circumstances would get him nothing better than involuntary manslaughter. One almost never gets “accident” with a gun being handled in a manner intended to engage another. Inherently dangerous instrument, higher standard of care.

    I can only presume she explained this to Wafer, and he decided not to go for that, but rather to try for the acquittal.

    The question for the jury, at the end of the day, will be whether Wafer’s mistake rises to the level of criminal culpability–and to the required standard of evidence, which is that the state must prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

    If this was a civil suit, I doubt there’d be any question whatever. But it’s not.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Browndog in reply to Andrew Branca. | July 23, 2014 at 9:05 pm

      I think the only chance he has is that the prosecution jumps the shark painting him as a cold blooded racist murderer that finally found his opportunity to kill a black (yes, that was the meme Kim Worthy layed out when she announced charges), that the jury pushes back.

        “I think the only chance he has is that the prosecution jumps the shark painting him as a cold blooded racist murderer that finally found his opportunity to kill a black ”

        State already pulled back from that in opening statements. He didn’t “intend to kill,” just created (with criminal negligence) conditions in which unlawful death likely to happen. A second degree murder “oops.”

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Browndog in reply to Andrew Branca. | July 23, 2014 at 9:18 pm

          We’ll see if they can control themselves in closing arguments.

          Anyway, thanks for covering this case. You rock.

          “Anyway, thanks for covering this case. You rock.”

          Thanks for the kind words, but no. I wish I WAS covering it. Court or their technology failure has blocked that out. I’m merely retweeting the tweets of hard-working local reporters.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Gremlin1974 | July 23, 2014 at 8:30 pm

The police testimony is just as bland as I thought it might be, basically comes down to; “Yep, we showed up after the fact and took pictures and cleaned up.”

I am guessing this officer didn’t ask Wafer any real questions. Maybe the next officer will have more to contribute.

That’s a strange shirt for Cpl Gonzalez to be wearing.

In my limited experience police invariably testify in uniform. They almost make a fetish of being all spiffed up and official when appearing in court.

    “In my limited experience police invariably testify in uniform. They almost make a fetish of being all spiffed up and official when appearing in court.”

    Uniform or a suite and tie.

    I noticed that, too.

    Really, my gut reaction is that it’s a middle finger to the state who called him to testify.

    But I wasn’t able to actually hear his testimony–which would have told me a lot, of course–so that’s speculation on my part.

    Cape Cod casual wear for a cop testifying on a second degree murder charge is not, however, the norm in my experience.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

A lot of things trouble me about this case. Mr Wafer claims he heard banging on his side door , and then at his front door. His large front window seems to be between those doors. The window appears to have vertical blinds. He states that he turned off his television and the hall light , and then grabbed his shotgun.It seems to me that he could have parted the blinds with the shotgun barrel and gotten a good look at his predator / prey. He would have seen an injured , intoxicated ,unarmed, young woman. The front door also appears to have a peephole. If my memory is correct , these were designed to allow you to see who is at your door WITHOUT opening it.

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/DM-death-house.jpg

Is anyone here familiar with the case involving Joe Hendrix and Ronald Westbrook? If so,please state all you can about Hendrix/Westbrook.

America’s gun culture is really screwed up !!
Second-grader suspended for POP-TART gun. But Then.. He gets a lifetime NRA Membership.
A 19 year old Texas Tech Cheerleader gets death threats for posting some of her exotic wild animal kills.
8 yr old boy accidentally kills himself at Gun Show with assault rifle.
AH , But you should be free to proudly carry your weapon through any GD WalMart you please !
Maybe it is time to start teaching gun safety and etiquette like lives depend on it.
I’m not trying to change this thread , and I am not anti-gun……. Just anti-idiot

    tom swift in reply to TheOptics. | July 24, 2014 at 3:13 am

    Maybe it is time to start teaching gun safety and etiquette like lives depend on it.

    There are programs to teach just that in schools, but the antis fight them tooth & nail.


    “I’m not trying to change this thread……. “

    Bless your heart.

      TheOptics in reply to Amy in FL. | July 24, 2014 at 4:50 am

      Sarcastic Much?
      know why Florida is abbreviated Fla ? It’s F’ing Lower Alabama

        Did a pretty blond Florida girl turn you down for your first college homecoming party because you were too crude for her, and you’re still holding a grudge (and still using that crude language) lo these many years later? I’m so sorry.

        Immolate in reply to TheOptics. | July 24, 2014 at 9:59 am

        Lol. “Well, I got the shit kicked out of me in Florida once.”

        Is TheOptics channeling “Stripes”?

    Immolate in reply to TheOptics. | July 24, 2014 at 9:50 am

    You give two examples of why America’s anti-gun culture is screwed up, and one example of why safety is important when dealing with deadly weapons, none of which were related to open carry. Was there an overarching point you were trying to make, or where you just ‘splainin’ all the things that stir your inner victim?

Richard Aubrey | July 24, 2014 at 11:12 am

We don’t know what McBride thought she was doing. If Wafer had not opened the door and, indeed, if he and the house had been unresponsive, would she have gone to another house to do whatever?

“We don’t know what McBride thought she was doing. If Wafer had not opened the door and, indeed, if he and the house had been unresponsive, would she have gone to another house to do whatever?”

Speculation is not the basis for a legal defense of self-defense. Nor for much else.

One could just as easily speculate that she would have wandered away and passed out somewhere, and no one would have used force against anybody.

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Richard Aubrey | July 25, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Andrew. I wasn’t speculating about defense issues. I was wondering whether she’d have gotten herself shot some other place. Or stumbled in front of a car.

    “Andrew. I wasn’t speculating about defense issues. I was wondering whether she’d have gotten herself shot some other place. Or stumbled in front of a car.”

    Fair enough.

    But “wondering” is “speculation.” Speculation might be fun over a beer or two at the local pub, or a virtual local pub like Legal Insurrection (no offense, Professor), but it’s worthless to a legal defense.

    The bad guys shot by good guys are almost ALWAYS scum who were never going to live to collect a pension.

    Doesn’t change the fact that if the good guy doesn’t follow the rules for use of force against another he can and often does go to jail.

    That’s the law.

    We don’t have to like it. We just have to live it. Or change it.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

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