PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — An 75-year-old woman “hunted down” her teenage grandson in her suburban Detroit home and shot at him 10 times over a six-minute span, even ignoring his desperate pleas for help to a 911 dispatcher, a prosecutor told jurors Monday, urging them to convict her of first-degree murder.
Summing up his case against Sandra Layne, prosecutor Paul Walton again played 17-year-old Jonathan Hoffman’s 911 call last May in which he said his grandmother had just shot him. “I’m going to die,” he said before he was shot again with the dispatcher on the line.
There is no dispute that Layne fired the shots in her West Bloomfield Township home, striking her grandson six times. The question for jurors: Should she be held criminally responsible for Hoffman’s death and, if so, how?
The options are first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter or acquittal based on self-defense.
Layne testified last week that she was afraid of her grandson and acted in self-defense. She said she shot him after he struck her while arguing over his demands for money and a plan to flee Michigan. Hoffman had failed a drug test earlier that day, which could have been a parole violation.
Walton reminded jurors that Layne didn’t report any injuries to police when they arrived at her home after the shooting.
“Not I was afraid, I acted in self-defense, he came after me,” Walton said. “I murdered. I shot. I killed — those are her first statements to law enforcement. … She hunted down Jonathan Hoffman because he wouldn’t listen.”
He called it a “massacre.”
Defense attorney Jerome Sabbota urged jurors to acquit Layne, asking them to view the incident through the eyes of woman who was 74 at the time. He said Layne was taking care of a teenager who had used drugs and brought strangers to the home. Hoffman’s parents were divorced and living in Arizona during his senior year of high school.
“Is there really a motive to murder her grandson? What does she gain?” Sabbota asked. “She killed a child she was trying to protect and trying to save. That’s a tragedy. Only one reason she did what she did: fear.”
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