Pontiac — Jury deliberations resume today in the trial of a 75-year-old West Bloomfield Township woman charged with killing her 17-year-old grandson by pumping six bullets into him during an argument.
The jury deliberated for two hours Monday after hearing closing arguments in which Paul Walton, Oakland County chief assistant prosecutor, described Sandra Layne, 75, as a murderer who "hunted down" and killed Jonathan Hoffman inside her condominium on May 18 "because he wouldn't listen to her."
Defense attorney Jerome Sabbota portrayed Layne as a dutiful grandmother who acted out of desperation and self-defense in response to her grandson's violent outbursts and escalating drug use.
"You've got to put yourself in her place," Sabbota said. "This is a tragedy but don't compound it with your verdict.
"There were two sides to Jonathan Hoffman. There is a side of someone who used drugs … who frightened his grandmother. … She doesn't deny she shot him. She shot him because she was afraid."
Layne is charged with open murder. Judge Denise Langford Morris instructed jurors they must first consider a charge of first-degree premeditated murder, which carries mandatory life in prison without parole.
Jurors may also consider second-degree murder, which can bring a penalty of up to life but with chance of parole.
And they can consider lesser offenses of voluntary manslaughter, which meant she intentionally caused death, or involuntary manslaughter, which meant she didn't mean to kill him.
The manslaughter charges carry sentences of one to 15 years in prison. Layne is also charged with use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, which carries a mandatory two-year prison sentence.
During the past two weeks, an Oakland Circuit Court jury has listened to evidence experts and heard dramatic 911 phone recordings and compelling testimony, including that of Layne, regarding events leading up to and after the shooting.
An autopsy showed Hoffman was shot six times at close range. Walton called a gun shop employee, who testified that Layne purchased a Glock semi-automatic handgun a few weeks before the shooting.
Walton replayed 911 tapes Monday in which Hoffman told a dispatcher that his grandmother shot him and begged for help. During the call, Hoffman cried out he had been shot again and jurors heard a struggle and a voice repeatedly shouting "let go."
Sabbota said on the day of the shooting Hoffman became agitated and violent after he had failed a court-ordered drug test.
Hoffman had been living with Layne and her husband since August to finish his senior year in high school with friends after his parents, who were divorcing, moved out of the state.