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Trial Set For Grandma In Teen Shooting Death

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Sandra Layne is seen in court on Dec. 6. (Credit: WWJ/Ron Dewey)

Sandra Layne is seen in court on Dec. 6. (Credit: WWJ/Ron Dewey)

PONTIAC (WWJ) - A trial is scheduled to start next week for a 75-year-old West Bloomfield woman charged in the shooting death of her 17-year-old grandson.

A pretrial hearing was held Thursday in Oakland County Circuit Court in Pontiac for Sandra Layne, who faces first-degree murder and weapons charges in the death of Jonathan Hoffman.

Defense attorney Jerome Sabbota said he and Layne were both in court to ask if there were any plea deals on the table — and were told no.

Hoffman was killed last May in his grandparents’ West Bloomfield Township condo, where was living.

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.

“I’ve just been shot … my grandma shot me,” Hoffman is heard telling the dispatcher.  “… I’m gonna die.”

Sabbota said Layne has admitted to shooting Hoffman, although only in self-defense, adding that “there were things that led up to it, things that created the fear in her mind, based upon how he was behaving.”

Sabbota said toxicology results show that Hoffman’s urine tested positive for traces of synthetic marijuana, although no traces were detected in his blood. The findings imply that Hoffman was not under the influence at the time of his death, but had used the synthetic drug in the days prior.

“There are many factors which caused the shooting … I’ve always said that,” said Sabbota. “The K-2 or the Spice is part of it … part of it that he tested positive on that day for K-2 with the probation department, positive that he was angry, positive he was worried about going to jail — all part of it.”

Sabbota said part of his defense strategy is showing the court that Hoffman had been violent with other family members in the past. He said Layne bought the gun after a March incident where neighbors called police on Hoffman 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 grandparents after his parents, who are divorced, moved to Arizona. Hoffman’s father, Michael, has said he and his ex-wife were not aware of problems between the teen and his grandmother.

- Catch up on this case -

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