The New York Times profiles Kym Worthy, the Wayne County, Mich., prosecutor who charged Theodore Wafer, a white homeowner, with second-degree murder after he shot and killed Renisha Marie McBride after she knocked on the door of his suburban Detroit house in the early morning hours of Nov. 2. Worthy, who nearly a decade ago became the first African-American and the first woman to hold the top prosecuting job in Wayne County, is widely viewed as meticulous, blunt and unshakable in her opinions, sometimes to a fault, her critics say.
Over the years, she has taken on county leaders, who she says have failed to fund her office sufficiently; uninvolved parents who refuse to take part in any conferences with teachers over their troubled children, and Kwame Kilpatrich, whom she charged with perjury, misconduct in office and other crimes while he was the mayor of Detroit. “If you are afraid to make those decisions, then you need not have this job,” she said. Worthy, who is 55 and a single mother to three adopted daughters, served as an assistant prosecutor and a judge before becoming the top prosecutor in 2004 for Wayne County, which includes Detroit.