Sunday, August 3, 2014

Justice for Renisha McBride: Week 2

HNL summarizes week two of the Renisha McBride trial as follows:
The Renisha McBride murder trial began its second week with prosecutors resuming their case against Theodore Wafer, charged with second degree murder, manslaughter, and felony use of a firearm in the 19-year-old’s shooting death. The state rested their case-in-chief on Wednesday afternoon, at which point the defense began calling experts to support their claim of self-defense. 
Here are highlights from some of the witnesses called to testify this week:

Davonta Bynes
A friend of Renisha McBride testified that he communicated with the victim on the night of the shooting.  Bynes was expecting Renisha to stop by that night after exchanging phone calls and text messages with her, but the teen never showed. Bynes told the jury he thought Renisha may have been drinking because she was slurring her speech.

Ray Murad
Wafer’s neighbor from across the street described hearing a gunshot the night of Renisha’s death. Murad said he was in his home office and heard something that sounded like trees hitting cars so he went to check but didn’t see anyone. About 10 or 15 minutes later, Murad heard a gunshot around 4:30 a.m. The witness did not hear any noise in the minutes before the shot was fired.

Det. Sgt. Kevin Lucidi
The Michigan State Police crash reconstructionist testified about Renisha’s car accident that occurred just hours before her death. With a cracked windshield and a damaged wheel, Lucidi told jurors that the car would not have been operable after it crashed into a Dodge Charger parked on the street at 1:30 a.m. Lucidi estimated Renisha was going between 31-43 MPH but could not determine if she was wearing a seatbelt when she crashed. Lucidi believes the cause of the spider-web crack to her car’s windshield is possibly from Renisha’s head striking it at the moment of impact.

James Bivens Jr.
Bivens is the chief of the criminal investigations unit with the prosecutor’s office. Bivens testified he could not find anyone who saw Renisha McBride in the hours between when she crashed her car and when she was shot dead on Wafer’s front porch just after 4:30 a.m. Detectives canvassed the area and knocked on about 100 doors but could not find anyone who saw Renisha in those early morning hours.

Sgt. Shawn Kolonich
The prosecution’s firearms expert told the jury it was not possible for the gun used to kill Renisha McBride to be accidentally fired. Kolonich demonstrated how the Mossberg 12-gauge double-barreled shotgun works, as well as pointing out that the only way to make the gun fire is by taking the safety off and pulling the trigger, which required 6.5 pounds of pressure.

Det. Sgt. Stephen Gurka
Gurka was the detective in charge of the case and was questioned about investigating the scene and gathering information. Gurka said he found no evidence of attempts to force entry into the home or damage to the front door or its locks when he arrived at the crime scene just over an hour after the shooting. Gurka did not observe any prying, kick marks, or damage to the locks on the front or side doors, which the defense says Renisha was banging on so forcefully that night that Wafer was in fear of his life. During cross examination, Wafer’s attorneys attacked the way investigators handled the case, specifically pointing out how long it took for detectives to simply collect evidence. The defense questioned why it took 9 days for officers to retrieve the screen door, why fingerprints weren’t taken from the scene the day of the shooting, and why Renisha’s body was left uncovered in the rain for over an hour after cops arrived at Wafer’s home, all of which the defense believes suggests the evidence presented by the state is tainted.
Read more here.

As Nancy Grace explained, Theodore Wafer's account is not credible. In order to fire the shotgun, Wafer had to deliberately apply 6.5 pounds of pressure to the trigger. Wafer did not shoot Renisha McBride by accident. He intentionally shot Renisha in the head and killed her.

So far, Wafer's second story does not hold up either. There is no evidence that Renisha attempted to break into his house.  As one of the guests on Politics Nation noted, it is completely implausible to assert that McBride got into an accident, walked miles away injured and randomly decided to burglarize Wafer's home.

Hopefully, the diverse jury will realize that Wafer's story does not make sense.  As reported in the Detroit Free Press, there are fourteen jurors, seven men and seven women. Of the fourteen, there are four African Americans, two women and two men.

I hope that there are no hold out jurors who are persuaded by the defense's weak arguments.  Here is the bottom line. Being intoxicated is not a capital offense. Seeking help while black should not be a capital offense. Justice for Renisha McBride. 

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