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Mich. woman, 75, convicted of murdering grandson

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 19, 2013 at 10:30 pm •  Published: March 19, 2013
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PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A 75-year-old woman was convicted Tuesday of second-degree murder for killing her teenage grandson last spring in her Detroit-area home, after jurors rejected her claim that she shot him six times in self-defense.

Sandra Layne cried quietly when she heard the verdict, which was delivered during the first full day of jury deliberations. She was also found guilty of using a firearm during a felony and likely faces at least 14 years in prison for the death of her grandson, Jonathan Hoffman.

Defense attorney Jerome Sabbota said later that Layne was "devastated" by the verdict.

But some family members had harsh words. Hoffman's mother, Jennifer Hoffman, said her mother was a "monster" who deserved to go to prison.

"I'm glad she's put away and can't do harm to anyone else," Jennifer Hoffman said outside court. "He was a great kid and didn't deserve this."

His father, Michael Hoffman, said the verdict was a "final vindication for my son."

As Layne was handcuffed and being led out of court, some family members sitting with her 87-year-old husband, Fred, waved in a show of support. But she couldn't make eye contact because there was a deputy in between blocking the view.

Layne fired 10 shots at her 17-year-old grandson, striking him six times over a six-minute span during an argument last May in her home in West Bloomfield Township. She never disputed that she killed him, but she testified that she did so because he had hit her and she feared for her safety.

The evidence included a recording of Jonathan Hoffman's desperate call to 911 in which he pleads for help, even as more shots are fired.

"My grandma shot me. I'm going to die. Help. I got shot again," he told the dispatcher as he gasped for air.

Jurors declined to comment following the verdict, but they told attorneys during a private meeting that the 911 call was crucial to their decision. It revealed that Layne had left Hoffman bleeding but then returned with more gunfire.

"They said they played it over and over and over again" in the jury room, prosecutor Paul Walton said. "One of the big things they said is when you hear the shots on the (call) there's no struggle."

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