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Detroit Front Porch Shooting Case: Day 4 End-of-Day Wrap-Up

Detroit Front Porch Shooting Case: Day 4 End-of-Day Wrap-Up

SHOCKER: Missing $100 bill and police on scene recorded speculating that McBride may have been a prostitute seeking payment

Well, things finally got engaging in the second degree murder trial of Theodor Wafer, charged with unlawfully killing 19-year-old Renisha McBride on his Detroit front porch in the early morning hours of November 2, 2013.

Of key importance was the playing in court–but outside the hearing of the jury–of audio recovered from police recording units at the scene, apparently from personally-worn recording devices of the officers present.

Numerous witnesses have testified over the course of the trial that a mere $56 dollars had been recovered from Renisha’s body. On the audio recording, however, police officers can be heard noting that a $100 bill had been found on her person, leading to one officer responding “No kidding?” This in turn led to a discussion on the officers’ part as to whether McBride had been working as a prostitute and had been seeking to collect money owed.

Later in the trial Detective Gurka testified at length about how he had early on began looking for any signs that there may have been a get together at Wager’s house, such as a pair of drinking glasses or a pizza box, suggesting that he may have been thinking along the lines of the other officers.

There was also audio recorded of at least one officer mentioning that he’d “stepped in some,” presumably blood or brain tissue evidence at the scene.

All of this occurred near the end of the court day, and gave the Judge by her own admission plenty to think about. I imagine the Prosecution, as well, and I’d expect some healthy debate when court opens again in the morning, before the jury is brought back in.

With that said, I’ll merely note that other than Detective Gurka’s testimony the only other witness was the cross examination of forensics firearms officer Kolonich in the early part of the afternoon. And now to our chronological tweets:


Shocking Audio Disclosed by Defense Counsel Cheryl Carpenter

Keep an eye right here at Legal Insurrection for our mid-day wrap-up of day 5 of the trial, and where we’ll succintly share with you the highlights of the morning.

–-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 (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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no idea on present regs about them keeping mikes on but I bet there will be rule clarifications out within 48 hours that specifically state they can when not dealing with public. don’t want the public to hear stuff like 100$ missing…

Ok, so is all the stuff about the $100 and possible prostitution stuff just for “impeachment” of the cops?

So basically they are just trying to say that these cops testimony can’t be trusted because they stole $100 from a dead girl and thought she was a hooker?

    If police officers stole 100 dollars from a dead victim,there should be a trust issue.

      BrokeGopher in reply to m1. | July 30, 2014 at 12:15 am

      What’s to trust? What could they be lying about that hurts Wafer’s case? He didn’t shoot her?

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to BrokeGopher. | July 30, 2014 at 12:52 am

        What’s there to believe.

        falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus

        tom swift in reply to BrokeGopher. | July 30, 2014 at 6:46 am

        The biggie is probably the whole business about the screen door. “Reassembling” it before documenting the “crime scene” strikes me as a major blunder. Failure to determine exactly what a buckshot hole in a screen looks like is another. And the long delay before collecting evidence – such as the door itself, among other things – seems peculiar.

          MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to tom swift. | July 30, 2014 at 11:06 am

          Actually the biggie is “McBride did not have a weapon”. Plus all the statements of Wafer to the cops about what happened. So far we only have the cops word for those. Cops that stole a $100 and lied about it.

          Plus, why couldn’t they locate McBride after the accident. This was a person with a serious injury and they weren’t out looking for her?

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to tom swift. | July 30, 2014 at 2:56 pm

          It’s horrendously bad. If the decision to replace the screen before photographic documentation of it falls into the department’s crime scene investigation protocol the indication is grossly inadequate proficiency training, knowledge and oversight, which may be a big clue as to why Detroit is the way it is.

    McBride’s demeanor is key to Wafer’s self defense claim.

    That’s why you see the McBride-supporters all characterizing the case as an innocent young black girl who’d lost here way having been shot in the face merely for knocking on someone’s door to ask for help.

    The defense looks at the evidence and sees a wildly drunk, illegal drug-using, self-described thug whose own friends describe as a “sore loser” (which I interpret to mean having anger issues) and who had good reason to be in a very bad mood that night having drunkenly smashed her car (again, apparently) and wandered around in the cold (???) for some hours before arriving at Wafer’s home and creating enough noise to wake the man from a sound sleep, as well as to induce a neighbor to go out and check on his car.

    Now there’s additional evidence that has led experienced police officers on the scene to speculate that she may have been a prostitute seeking to collect a payment from a John–an event frequently accompanied by histrionics. And some indication that this evidence was either lost or stolen by the police whose testimony makes up much of the Prosecution’s case.

    How much of that defense narrative is true, and how much of that evidence will ever be seen by the jury, remains an open question.

    But clearly one of those two narratives is going to be more consistent of a reasonable fear of imminent attack than the other.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    genes in reply to Gremlin1974. | July 30, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Falsifying the police report and who knows what else they may have taken from the scene and if it would be relevant to the case.
    We also see that they wandered through a crime scene with no regard for possible evidence and what damage they might do to it.

MouseTheLuckyDog | July 29, 2014 at 10:20 pm

So she wasn’t a skank? She was a skank ho?

MouseTheLuckyDog | July 29, 2014 at 10:40 pm

Only a third of the pellets recovered. I diudn’t expect all the pellets to be recovered, but two-thirds?

    Gremlin1974 in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | July 29, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    Well he did fire towards the street with a short barreled shotgun which I am guessing had an open choke, so those other pellets are probably all over that neighborhood.

      tom swift in reply to Gremlin1974. | July 29, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      The range was only what – maybe two yards? Extreme spread isn’t going to be much; about two inches.

      Most of the other pellets may well still in her head. It’s not like they were doing life-saving surgery and had to be absolutely sure they got them all out. I’m sure the ME picked out the readily accessible ones to the point where they felt they had a reasonable sample, then called it a day. Diminishing returns, afternoon golf game, etc., etc., etc.

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Andrew Branca. | July 30, 2014 at 11:00 am

        Tsk. Tsk. The jury isn’t supposed to make assumptions. A rough count of whats left can be determined by X-ray.

        Also wouldn’t they examine the brain to determine if the accident caused any brain damage?

        Do we have a copy of the ME’s report?

          JackRussellTerrierist in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | July 30, 2014 at 3:00 pm

          They couldn’t even handle the screen door issue in a manner remotely approaching widely accepted procedure. And you want x-rays of her head and an ME opinion on whether or not she had a brain injury?

          This is Detroit.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | July 30, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    It has become apparent that this was a very slip-shod investigation. Embarrassing, really.

range of 2 yds? Did you ever take a physics class?