Friday, 19 April 2013

Grandmother gets 22 years: 75-year-old woman jailed for killing her grandson

Grandmother gets 22 years: 75-year-old woman jailed for killing her grandson, 75-year-old Sandra Layne, a grandmother from Detroit, will spend at least 22 years behind bars for murdering her 17-year-old grandson last May.

The West Bloomfield Township grandmother was found guilty Thursday of the second-degree murder of Jonathan Hoffman, according to an April 19 ABC News release.

At the sentencing Thursday, Layne expressed remorse but repeatedly pointed the finger at her daughter, Jennifer Hoffman, and her ex-husband for abandoning the troubled teen.

The judge was not swayed by Layne’s emotional plea, and Layne will likely live out the rest of her life in prison.

Layne was found guilty of shooting Jonathan Hoffman six times, including twice in the back, last spring. A former real estate agent and teacher, the elderly woman claimed the shooting was out of self defense, but a jury rejected her claim of being in jeopardy from a physical altercation she had with her grandson.

At the trial, Jennifer Hoffman called her mother a “monster.” Ex-husband Michael called the verdict a “vindication” for his son and the family.

"It's a final vindication for my son, to restore his good name and reputation, because over the course of the last nine months, it's been tarnished in a very cruel manner," Michael Hoffman said.

Jonathan’s actions and lifestyle were called into question during the trial. Jennifer Hoffman acknowledged that her son struggled with drug use but was not aware of any conflict between her son and his grandmother.

Layne said she bought a gun out of fear after her grandson came to live with her during his senior high school year. Jonathan’s parents said Layne made an offer for their son to live with his her so that the parents could care for Jonathan’s sister, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Layne wept quietly as the verdict was read. As she was being led out of court in handcuffs around her arms and midsection, her 87-year-old husband, Fred, waved in a show of support.

A recording of a 911 call, which was repeatedly played during the trial, showed Jonathan pleading for help while being shot. According to prosecutors, there was no evidence that Layne was in danger, and if she was, Judge Denise Langford Morris said she should have simply called police.

"Grandmothers are supposed to protect. Why did you keep shooting and how could you keep shooting?" Morris asked. "You didn't have to keep shooting. Those were hollow-pointed bullets designed for a devastating impact."

The judge closed out the sentencing hearing by saying Hoffman likely belonged in a rehab center but instead "is in his grave at 17."

"Make no mistake," Morris said, "Jonathan is the victim here."

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