Civil rights groups have suggested that race may have played a role in the shooting, but prosecutors presented no evidence to make that connection. Wafer is White, while McBride was Black.
Wafer called 911 around 4:30 a.m. and said he had shot someone who was banging on his door. More than three hours earlier, McBride had crashed her car into a parked car in a residential neighborhood, about a half-mile away in Detroit.
A witness said McBride was bleeding and holding her head. She apparently walked away from the scene before an ambulance arrived. It’s still unclear, at least publicly, what she did between the time of the car wreck and her arrival on Wafer’s porch.
An autopsy found McBride had a blood-alcohol level of about 0.22, more than twice the legal limit for driving. She also had been smoking marijuana.
Her best friend, Amber Jenkins, 18, said they had been drinking vodka and playing cards seven to eight hours before the shooting was reported to 911.
Spectators, mostly McBride’s family and friends, left the courtroom immediately after the judge’s decision. Wafer, an airport maintenance worker, lingered and appeared dazed as he stood and looked out a courtroom window. He thanked his attorneys and left through a back door.
A second-degree murder conviction can carry a sentence of up to life in prison. A trial judge would have discretion.
Carpenter told reporters the ruling was a disappointment.
“We look forward to trial where you will get all of the evidence,” she said.
Before hearing final arguments, the judge rejected Carpenter’s request to play Wafer’s recorded statement to police. It was not introduced by prosecutors when they presented evidence Wednesday.
Hagaman-Clark, citing Michigan court rules, successfully argued that the defense could play the video only if Wafer would agree to testify and open himself up to cross-examination.
“The videotaped statement is not subject to cross-examination,” the prosecutor said.
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