LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments on Thursday as it reviews the case of Theodore “Ted” Wafer.
Wafer is a Dearborn Heights man who shot and killed 19-year-old Renisha McBride as she pounded on his front door one morning in 2013. He is serving a minimum of 17 years, and his attorneys want one of the charges against him thrown out.
When Wafer was convicted of both second degree murder and statutory manslaughter, he was sentenced under guidelines that reflected both convictions. His attorneys argued that the convictions shouldn’t have been considered together to sentence him.
“I think what we as attorneys sometimes struggle to do is we know something’s unfair and we struggle to find the right constitutional framework for it. I don’t think there’s any practical difference to whether we call it due process or double jeopardy,” said Jacqueline McCann with the Michigan Appellate Defender Office.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office argued the charges are distinct and fully reflect what Wafer did back in 2013.
“Mr. Wafer initially told police twice that he did not know the gun was loaded and that it went off, or just did so accidentally. Due to this evidence, the people charged Mr. Wafer with the crimes of second degree murder and statutory manslaughter. It’s undisputed that these crimes are composed of distinct legal elements ... It’s presumed that Mr wafer may be properly charged, convicted and punished for both,” said Amanda Smith with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.
“Accordingly, Mr Wafer’s dual convictions do not offend double jeopardy or due process principles, and the application cannot be granted.”