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Grandma Who Killed Grandson Seeks Short Sentence

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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)

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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - A 75-year-old Detroit-area woman convicted of killing her teen grandson is asking for just a year in prison for murder, on top of a mandatory two-year sentence for using a gun.

Sandra Layne’s attorney filed the request this week ahead of her sentencing on April 18. Jerome Sabbota told a judge that the public doesn’t need to be protected from Layne, nor does the prison system need to rehabilitate her.

“Sandra Layne is in her own prison. … There is nothing that anybody can do to turn the clock back to the awful events that occurred on May 18, 2012,” Sabbota wrote. “There are no winners or losers in a case such as this.”

Layne last month was convicted of second-degree murder and a gun crime in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Jonathan Hoffman. He was shot six times at a home they shared in Oakland County’s West Bloomfield Township.

Layne claimed she desperately shot her grandson in self-defense during a physical altercation last May, but jurors rejected it. A critical piece of evidence was a recording of a 911 call in which the teen pleaded for help while being shot again by Layne.

A message seeking comment was left for the prosecutor, Paul Walton. It’s not known what his position will be next week, but he has said Layne likely faces more than 10 years in prison for the killing, in addition to a mandatory two-year punishment for using a firearm.

“This was an execution,” Walton said after the guilty verdict.

Sabbota is asking Judge Denise Langford Morris for an extraordinary departure from the sentencing guidelines. If the judge agrees, Layne would be eligible for parole after three years.

“Any lengthy sentence of incarceration most likely will be a death sentence to her,” Sabbota said.

Layne described herself as a big-hearted grandma who felt overwhelmed when Hoffman was briefly hospitalized for drug use a year ago. She said he was loud, coarse and argumentative in subsequent weeks and, on the day of the shooting, had tested positive for so-called synthetic marijuana, which could have triggered a probation violation.

Layne said her grandson had demanded $2,000 and her car so that he could flee Michigan because he had failed a drug test, which could have been a probation violation. She claimed he kicked her and struck her in the face before she shot him.

Hoffman was living with his grandmother during his final year of high school while his parents were living in Arizona, tending to a daughter with a brain tumor.

“[Layne] did everything she could in an attempt to save this young man so he would be successful. To no avail,” Sabbota wrote.

Click here to catch up on this case.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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