Grandmother Sandra Layne takes the stand in murder trial

(WXYZ) - At times, Sandra Layne appeared emotional on the stand as she testified about the day she opened fire on her 17-year-old grandson who she says had just kicked her in the chest and hit her in the head.

Layne is charged with Open Murder for the shooting death of Jonathan Hoffman last May in her West Bloomfield home.

The 75-year-old claims it was self-defense.

On Wednesday, Layne told the jury that Jonathan failed a court-ordered drug test that day and feared going to jail so he demanded $2,000 in cash and her car.

Layne testified that she was not going to give him the money or her car and armed herself to confront him.

Jonathan was upstairs in his bedroom loft area, when Layne testified that she went to confront him armed with her handgun, a Glock 17 loaded with hollow-point bullets.

When her defense attorney asked why she brought the gun upstairs with her, Layne said she wanted to tell Jonathan that they were going to call his parents and she had the gun to make sure he paid attention.

Layne told the jury that's when her grandson attacked her and she fired. At that time, at least one bullet had struck the 5' 6", 110 pound teen in the chest.

Layne says the two struggled and she got away and ran to the basement to hide. But Layne said she doesn't know how much time passed before she returned to Jonathan's loft area to check on him.

Layne says she put the gun down but that Jonathan tried to grab it, so she picked it up and shot him again as they struggled.

Jonathan was already on the phone with 911 when he tells the dispatcher that his grandmother shot him again.

On the stand, Layne said she did not know Jonathan's condition when she walked out of her home that had been surrounded by police.

But officers with West Bloomfield Police testified earlier in the trial that Layne opened the front door and said she had just murdered her grandson.

When talking about her relationship with Jonathan in the months leading up to the shooting, Layne testified that she was afraid of him when he would become angry. She also said she feared his friends would try to steal from her and her husband though that had never happened before.

Layne said Jonathan had never assaulted her before the day she shot him.

"If we disagreed, he would take it out on things, he would break his own equipment," said Sandra.

Jonathan Hoffman was living with his grandmother while his parents were divorcing outside of Michigan.

Layne also told the court that she loved Jonathan and tried to calm him down on several occasions when he would get angry.

"I knew he was troubled, but I didn't realize that he was that troubled of a child," said Layne.

She testified that she suspected Jonathan was doing drugs in the home. She says Jonathan lived in the upstairs loft of their home and says she rarely went up there, but when she did she smelled marijuana.

Prosecutors began cross-examining Layne on Wednesday, but as they were about to question her about the moments that led up to the shooting, the judge adjourned the trial.

Prosecutors will resume their cross-examination of Layne late Thursday morning.

On Monday, two experts took the stand. One testified about blood spatter, the other about the gun believed to be used.

One expert said the bullet examined from Layne's house had a hollow point which increases the wound cavity and causes more damage to the target.

 

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