Murder trial begins for Sandra Layne, grandmother accused of killing own grandson

PONTIAC, Mich. (WXYZ) - Prosecutors began presenting their case Tuesday in the murder trial of Sandra Layne, a grandmother who is charged with killing her grandson in her West Bloomfield home last May.

Oakland County Prosecutors call it a case of murder, but Layne's defense attorney Jerome Sabbota called her the "ultimate grandmother" and said she only shot him after he kicked her in the chest.

West Bloomfield Police Officer Brian Tash took the stand in the case. He was one of the first officers on the scene on the day prosecutors say Layne killed her grandson. He testified that moments after they arrived, police had to take cover because they heard three gunshots. Prosecutors say that was Layne still shooting her grandson even after he was able to call 911 for help.

The West Bloomfield Police dispatcher who took the teen's call was the first witness to testify in the trial. She immediately broke into tears when she was asked about the 911 call Layne grandson, Jonathan Hoffman, placed after being shot.

Her testimony comes after lawyers for both the prosecution and defense completed opening statements.

During their opening statement, prosecutors told the jury that Layne shot her grandson a total of six times.

An autopsy showed that Hoffman had the synthetic marijuana K2 in his blood at the time he was killed. Prosecutors acknowledged this during their opening statement. They also talked about Hoffman's possession of marijuana conviction.

However, prosecutors say it was Hoffman's urine and not his blood that tested positive for K2. They say this shows the substance was metabolized and had no effect on him.

As they gave their opening statements, Layne's attorneys said Hoffman was her favorite grandson and she had nothing to gain by killing him. They are arguing that Hoffman was a troubled teen who took marijuana and spice and gave his grandmother constant trouble.

Sources have told 7 Action News that Layne's defense will be that she killed her grandson in self defense during a fight.

Defense attorneys have begun to lay the groundwork for the defense by telling the jury that Layne first shot her grandson because he kicked her in the chest. They say that Hoffman grabbed her when she went to check on him after a few minutes, and that was why she shot him again.

The attorneys also indicated that Layne will testify during the case by telling the jury they will hear from her during the trial. They say she will talk about being afraid of her grandson and buying a gun because she knew what happened in the Tucker Cipriano case. 

Cipriano is accused of killing his father and seriously injuring his mother and brother in April of last year. He has testified that he smoked K2 and used hallucinogenic mushrooms the day his family was attacked.

Hoffman and Layne had had a similar argument to the one that led to Hoffman's death two months before he was killed. She bought the gun about a month later.

The trial is expected to last about two weeks.

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