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crimesider

Trial to start in death of unarmed Mich. woman on porch

Renisha McBride.

CBS Detroit

DETROIT - Jury selection is set to begin in the trial of a suburban Detroit man who shot and killed an unarmed drunk woman who was pounding on his door before dawn last November, several hours after she crashed her car.

Theodore Wafer, 55, is charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and a gun charge in the killing of 19-year-old Renisha McBride on his Dearborn Heights porch. Jury selection starts Monday at Wayne County Circuit Court.

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Theodore Wafer, left, listens to his attorneys while appearing at his preliminary examination before District Court Judge David Turfe in Dearborn Heights, Mich., Dec. 18, 2013.
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Wafer's attorney says he shot McBride because he feared for his safety and his actions were legally justifiable.

But prosecutors say Wafer could have remained in his locked home and called 911. They say opening the door and shooting McBride in the face didn't amount to self-defense.

McBride crashed into a parked car about three-and-a-half hours before she showed up at Wafer's door. A toxicology report showed she was drunk at the time of the crash.

The Detroit Free Press reports Judge Dana Hathaway ruled last month that a cell phone photograph of the victim, along with her text messages, would be allowed to be shown to jurors. The defense has portrayed McBride as a marijuana dealer with a troubled history.

Attorney Gerald Thurswell, who represents McBride's family, told the Free Press the defense wants to put the victim on trial. He said Friday that the woman's family had hoped Wafer "would have admitted responsibility" for his role in the fatal shooting.