The "porch murder" trial, in which a suburban Detroit man is facing second-degree murder charges for allegedly shooting a 19-year-old woman to death outside of his home last year, began with opening arguments Wednesday.
Theodore Wafer, a 54-year-old white man, is accused of fatally shooting Renisha McBride, an African-American teen, in the racially charged case that has Americans split on whether or not the man acted in self-defense.
Officials said an intoxicated McBride banged on the door of Wafer's home around 4:40 a.m. on Nov. 2, 2013, according to the Detroit Free Press
. The woman had reportedly been involved in an auto accident some three and a half hours earlier, the newspaper noted.
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Prosecutors claim Wafer then opened fire on an unarmed McBride through a locked screen door with a shotgun while she stood on his porch, possibly looking for help. But Wafer's attorneys insist their client feared for his life and simply acted in self-defense after McBride loudly banged on his door.
According to Free Press live tweets from the trial, Wafer's legal team said he did not know McBride's race at the time, only that he feared for his life.
Under a 2006 Michigan law, the use of force during a break-in is allowed. Otherwise, according to ABC News, one must show proof
that his or her life is in danger.
The case, which is similar to the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman one in Florida, proved a challenge when it came to picking the jury pool. The Free Press reported that Wayne County Circuit Judge Dana Hathaway excused more than 30 potential jurors over two days for cause, with some saying they had already formed an opinion about the trial.
Ultimately, four African-Americans and 10 whites were selected (including the standard jury of 12 and two alternates).
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