Home / National News / Michigan Grandmother Tearfully Testifies About Fatally Shooting Grandson


(DETROIT) — A tearful 75-year-old Michigan grandmother took the stand for the second day Thursday to testify about fatally shooting her 17-year-old grandson.

Sandra Layne, 75, cried and rocked back and forth on the witness stand as she was questioned about the killing of Jonathan Hoffman on May 18, 2012, at her home in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. She struggled to remember details of the shooting.

On Wednesday, Layne told the Oakland County Circuit Court that she loved her grandson and had shot him in self-defense.

She told the jury that Hoffman had failed a court-ordered drug test and feared going to jail, so he asked her for her car and $2,000, according to ABC News Detroit affiliate WXYZ.

Layne said she would not give him either and armed herself to confront him in his upstairs bedroom loft.

When her lawyer asked her why she took the Glock 17 upstairs with her, she said she wanted to make sure Hoffman paid attention when she told him she was going to call his parents about his behavior, WXYZ reported.

Hoffman had moved in with his grandmother in 2011 after his parents’ divorce. She said his alleged drug use and choice of friends made her fearful, which was why she bought a gun weeks before the shooting.

She began to cry as she recalled going to his room.

“It wasn’t a conversation. It was arguing,” Layne said. She said Hoffman was swearing and yelling at her.

Layne said Hoffman attacked her.

“Tell us what happens when he kicks you and he strikes you,” the attorney said.

She paused for a long time before saying through tears, “I shot the gun.”

Terrified, she said she ran to the basement to hide. She eventually went back to her grandson’s room to check on him. They struggled again, and she shot him again.

By this time, Hoffman was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher.

“I got shot, again,” Hoffman said in the recording of the call. “My grandmother. My grandmother shot me. I’m going to die. Help.”

The 911 operator could be heard asking where he was hit. In a muffled voice, Hoffman told the operator that he had been hit in the chest.

Police said she fired 10 times and hit him six times. Layne testified that she did not know Hoffman’s condition when she walked outside, and that her house had been surrounded by police, but police testified that she opened the door and said she had just killed her grandson.

When her defense attorney asked her if she wanted to kill him, she said, “Of course not. I still love him.”

Layne faces life in prison without parole if convicted of first-degree murder.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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