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Detroit-area man who shot woman on porch to face murder trial

By Haley Draznin, CNN
updated 2:58 PM EST, Thu December 19, 2013
Renisha McBride, 19, was shot and killed on the front porch of a home.
Renisha McBride, 19, was shot and killed on the front porch of a home.
  • Judge rules that Detroit-area man will stand trial on a charge of second-degree murder
  • Theodore Paul Wafer shot and killed Renisha McBride on his Dearborn Heights porch
  • Renisha McBride's family pushed for an arrest
  • Wafer's attorney says his client acted in self-defense

(CNN) -- A Detroit-area man who claimed he accidentally shot and killed a 19-year-old woman he thought was breaking into his home will stand trial on a charge of second-degree murder, a judge ruled Thursday.

District Court Judge David Turfe said there was enough probable cause for Theodore Paul Wafer, 54, to stand trial in connection with the November 2 shooting of Renisha McBride, who authorities say was intoxicated and possibly disoriented following a car crash before Wafer shot her on his Dearborn Heights porch.

"Defendant came to the door with the shotgun, Turfe said, according to CNN Michigan affiliate WXYZ. "His first thought was to bring the gun, not call for help, or not answer the door. It suggests to this court, the defendant made a bad choice."

A friend of McBride told the court that she and the victim had been playing a drinking game with vodka and smoking marijuana the night of the shooting.

Wafer's next court appearance is scheduled for January 15.

Wafer, whose lawyer said he shot the victim in self-defense, was charged with second-degree murder last month after days of pressure from McBride's relatives seeking an arrest.

He also was charged with manslaughter and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Wafer told investigators he thought McBride was breaking into his home, and that the shotgun accidentally discharged when he investigated, police said.

McBride was unarmed and there was no evidence of a break-in, so Wafer -- who authorities say shot McBride from behind a closed, locked screen door -- cannot lawfully claim he needed to shoot her to stop an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy told reporters last month.

"I am saying we do not believe he acted in lawful self-defense," Worthy said