Mich. grandma who killed grandson: I feared him

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(PONTIAC, Mich., AP) – A 75-year-old woman charged with first-degree murder sobbed on the witness stand Wednesday as she told jurors how she repeatedly shot her teenage grandson after he kicked her in the abdomen and demanded money and a car to leave Michigan.
Sandra Layne described herself as an overwhelmed grandmother who took Jonathan Hoffman into her Detroit-area home after his parents divorced and moved to Arizona. She said she “adored” the 17-year-old, but their relationship changed when the teen got involved with drugs.
“Did you want to kill this young man?” defense attorney Jerome Sabbota asked.
“Of course not. I still love him,” Layne replied.
She told jurors that Hoffman used drugs and spent time with friends whom she didn’t know or trust. Layne said he couldn’t control his temper if things went wrong, destroying computer equipment and kicking doors and the car dashboard.
On the day of the shooting, Layne said, Hoffman had flunked a drug test and was at risk of being sent to jail for violating probation in a marijuana case. She said he demanded $2,000 and the keys to her car.
Layne said she feared for her safety.
“I went into my bedroom and started looking for the gun,” she said, crying and rocking in the chair as she testified. “I wanted him to pay attention to me. He had to listen. It wasn’t a conversation. It was arguing. Swearing.”
She said she shot Hoffman after he kicked her and struck her in the head. Layne then rushed to the basement from a third-floor loft to hide. She said she returned and shot the teen again after he grabbed for the gun.
“I was afraid it would start all over again,” Layne testified.
Authorities said Layne of West Bloomfield Township fired 10 shots, striking Hoffman six times, even while he was on the phone with 911 begging for help.