Minutes ago, a jury found Theodore Wafer guilty of second-degree murder, and manslaughter in the killing of Renisha McBride after just over a day's worth of deliberation. McBride was 19 years old when Wafer shot and killed her on his porch last November. Wafer was remanded to Wayne County Jail to await sentencing.
The quick guilty verdict comes as something of a relief to those of us who believed that what happened to McBride was inextricably bound with her race, and also to those of us who believe that shooting any unarmed person through a locked door cannot logically be counted as self-defense. Many people feared this case might end up with a similar acquittal to that of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin matter just over a year ago. The Zimmerman matter made people understandably pessimistic about a jury's ability to convict a white killer of an unarmed black teenager.
The cases were different in some relevant particulars but each involved a defense theory that played on racist fears about the "dangerousness" of young blacks. It's a good and wonderful thing that that kind of thinking did not prevail here. It would be a much better and even more wonderful thing if we could get this to be the expected result in cases like this one, rather than a welcome but nonetheless unusual surprise.
[Image of Theodore Wafer via AP.]