Theodore Wafer said he was sorry from the bottom of his heart Wednesday
for gunning down an unarmed young woman on the front porch of his
Michigan home, but a judge said "mistake" was the wrong word to describe
a murder and sentenced him to 15 to 30 years in prison.
Wafer, 55, looked down, his lawyer patting him on the back, as Wayne
County Circuit Judge Dana Hathaway sentenced him for second-degree
murder in the November shooting death of Renisha McBride, 19 -- a
racially charged case because the victim was black and Wafer is white.
had testified that he feared for his life when loud banging startled
him awake in the early morning hours of November 2, 2013. He opened his
front door and fired a fatal shotgun blast into the face of McBride, who
prosecutors say was seeking help after a car accident.
parents family and friends of Renisha McBride, I apologize from the
bottom of my heart and I am truly sorry for your loss," Wafer said. "I
can only hope and pray that some how you can forgive me. ... From my
fear, I caused the lost of a life that was too young to leave this world
and for that I carry that guilt and sorrow forever."
Hathaway said it was one of the "saddest cases" she had ever presided over.
do not believe that you are a cold-blood murderer or that this case had
anything to do with race or that you are some sort of monster," the
judge said. "I do believe you acted out of some fear but mainly anger
and panic and unjustified fear is never an excuse to take someone's
Hathaway said she was confident Wafer was remorseful and
would likely never commit another crime in his life, but that McBride
came to his doorstep seeking help and lost her life.
the choices that brought us here," the judge said. "I don't know that
you could ever use the word 'mistake' to describe a murder, and a person