Thursday, July 31, 2014
DETROIT (AP) — A former medical examiner sparred with a prosecutor Thursday over a wound on the hand of a woman who was fatally shot on a Detroit-area porch, telling jurors it seems to fit the defense's claim that Renisha McBride was pounding on the homeowner's doors before she was killed.
Dr. Werner Spitz, a forensic pathologist, said photos of McBride's body show a "small superficial laceration" on her left hand. It "could have come from pounding on something," Spitz said.
The testimony was intended to reinforce Theodore Wafer's explanation that McBride, 19, was pounding furiously on his doors before he shot her last Nov. 2. Wafer insists he acted in self-defense, but prosecutors say he could have kept the front door closed and called police.
Wafer, 55, of Dearborn Heights is charged with second-degree murder.
On cross-examination, prosecutor Athina Siringas noted that McBride was in a car wreck 3 ½ hours before arriving at Wafer's porch. She asked Spitz if the victim could have injured her hand in the crash and pressed him to give a scientific reason for his opinion.
"It may not always sound scientific. ... I'm told somebody at 4:30 in the morning pounded at (Wafer's) door in various places — on the window, on the door, on another door around the house," Spitz said. "And that same person now has a superficial laceration on the hand, a runoff of fresh blood, which means it probably just happened."
He said photos show McBride's hands were swollen, one more than the other.
"There's no way of associating these findings with anything but the event that led to the death," Spitz testified, referring to the pounding.
Earlier this week, Dr. Kilak Kesha, who conducted the autopsy, said there was nothing remarkable about the condition of McBride's hands.
Wafer's attorneys haven't said if he will testify, but legal experts believe he must if he wants to show jurors that he reasonably acted out of fear.
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