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Man charged with murder in porch-shooting due in court

A white suburban Detroit homeowner charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of an unarmed young black woman who knocked on his door seeking help early one November morning is due in court Wednesday to be arraigned on the charges.

A judge in December ordered Theodore Wafer, 54, to stand trial on charges he killed Renisha McBride, 19, in the racially charged case that drew protests in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, and comparisons to the 2012 shooting death of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

The hearing Wednesday at a downtown Detroit courthouse is expected to be brief for Wafer, who is also charged with manslaughter and a felony firearms count. McBride was struck once in the face with a shotgun blast on Wafer's front porch.

Attorneys for Wafer argued during a preliminary examination in December that the airport maintenance worker who cares for his elderly mother was afraid for his life that morning.

McBride had a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit for driving in Michigan when she died and had crashed a car hours before, according to witnesses who testified for prosecutors at the preliminary examination.

A woman who reported the crash testified, however, that McBride appeared confused and injured, but not combative. Wayne County Judge David Turfe said Wafer could have called for help or not answered the door rather than going to the door armed.

Wafer called 911 afterward to report the incident and police have said he told officers he fired the fatal shot, but that it was accidental.