WEST BLOOMFIELD (WWJ) – The trial has been delayed for a 74-year-old West Bloomfield woman charged in the shooting death of her 17-year-old grandson.
Sandra Layne faces first-degree murder and weapons charges in the death of Jonathan Hoffman.
Defense attorney Jerome Sabbota says it was a case of self-defense and his client is deteriorating behind bars as they wait for evidence from the state police crime lab already backlogged with other cases.
The evidence in question is blood spatterings that Sabbota said could be critical in Layne’s defense. “Because my understanding is there was blood on the gun and the blood is not her blood,” he said.
The State Police crime lab has taken on a heavier case load since the Detroit police crime lab was shut down in 2008.
“I can’t really proceed without all of the evidence because there could be something that is exculpatory,” Sabotta said.
Sabotta said he may file a motion for Layne to be released on bond next month.
Hoffman was killed last May in his grandparents’ West Bloomfield Township condo, where he lived.
During a pre-trial hearing, a police officer described a 911 call during which Hoffman said he was shot by his grandmother and that he would die. While still on the phone, he was shot again repeatedly.
Sabbota said Hoffman tested positive for synthetic marijuana and Layne bought the gun after a March incident where neighbors called police on her grandson during a screaming match that seemed to be out of control.
Hoffman was on probation after drug-related run-ins with the law and attended an alternative high school for troubled kids. He was living with his grandmother after his parents, who are divorced, moved to Arizona.
The trial has been tentatively scheduled for March.