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Demonstrators protest against the killing of 19-year-old Renisha McBride outside the Dearborn Heights Police Station in Dearborn Heights, Michigan November 7, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)

Demonstrators protest against the killing of 19-year-old Renisha McBride outside the Dearborn Heights Police Station in Dearborn Heights, Michigan November 7, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)

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"I find it very hard to believe that his actions were an accident," said the victim's sister at the sentencing hearing.

A white suburban Detroit man was sentenced to at least 17 years on Wednesday for fatally shooting an unarmed black, female teenager in the face.

Theodore Wafer, 55, was found guilty of second-degree murder, manslaughter, and a felony gun charge for the November 2 murder of 19-year-old Renisha McBride.  

"I'll never have the opportunity to see her grow up, be a woman and have kids," Walter Simmons, McBride's father, told the court at the sentencing hearing. 

McBride reportedly knocked on the door of Wafer's Dearborn Heights home looking for help after getting into a car accident down the street. Wafer responded by shooting her in the face with 12-gauge shotgun through his screen door.

Wafer's defense lawyer argued in the trial that Wafer shot the unarmed teen in self-defense.

The judge presiding over the case sentenced Wafer to serve as many as 32 years in prison for the murder of McBride and a separate gun charge, though he will be eligible for parole after 17 years.

Wafer asked McBride's family for forgiveness at the sentencing hearing.

"From my fear I caused the loss of a life who was too young to leave this world," he said. "From that I will carry this guilt and sorrow forever." 

Wafer initially told the police that the shooting was an accident, something an anonymous juror told the Detroit Free Press led the jury to reject his self-defense argument.

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