Sandra Layne of West Bloomfield Township turns to looks at family members in the courtroom after her conviction on a second-degree murder charge Tuesday. (Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)
Pontiac — The daughter of 75-year-old Sandra Layne said her mother "got what she deserved" minutes after a jury convicted her of second-degree murder in the shooting death of her 17-year-old grandson.
Jennifer Hoffman, the mother of Jonathan Hoffman, who died after Layne shot him six times, called her mother "a monster."
"I know my son is in heaven and that is a place she will never see," Jennifer Hoffman said.
After eight hours of deliberations over two days, an Oakland County Circuit Court jury of seven women and five men found the West Bloomfield grandmother guilty of second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
As the guilty verdicts were read, Layne rocked back and forth in her chair and began sobbing as her attorney attempted to comfort her.
Other members of her family, including her 87-year-old husband, Fred, clutched one another and wept.
Chief assistant prosecutor Paul Walton tilted his head back in apparent relief.
And Michael and Jennifer Hoffman, the divorced parents of the victim, smiled at one another across an aisle.
Outside the courtroom Michael Hoffman said, "I'm thrilled."
A dazed Layne was led back to jail by a half-dozen deputies. She will be sentenced April 8.
Under sentencing guidelines she is expected to be sentenced to a minimum of 12 years for second-degree murder and must serve a separate mandatory two-year sentence for the firearms conviction.
A 14-year sentence means she would be nearly 90 years old before she would be released from prison.
"It's a life sentence for her," said her attorney, Jerome Sabbota, outside the courtroom. "She's devastated but there is nothing anyone can do to her that she hasn't done to herself."
Walton credited one six-minute-plus piece of evidence — a 911 tape — as crucial to the prosecution's case against Layne.
"It (the tape) clearly shows a 17-year-old begging for help. It was compelling," said Walton. "It's not often you have a victim describing to a dispatcher what they are feeling and what is happening to them."
Walton said the 911 tape and other evidence inside the home also showed jurors that Layne's version of events was "fanciful."
"There was no evidence of any struggle, as she said," Walton reflected.
"The jury listened to the tape over and over and over again," said Walton.
"Each time they said they heard something different. They were especially affected by hearing a gunshot at a time when there is no struggle," Walton said.
Sabbota said jurors told him his client "sounded evasive" on the second day of testimony when giving only "yes and no answers."
"They didn't like her," Walton said of Layne. "They found her evasive and deceptive."
During the two-week trial, the jury heard from more than two dozen witnesses, including emotional testimony from Layne who said she acted out of desperation and self-defense.
Jonathan's parents moved to Arizona in the summer 2011, and he went to live with Layne and her husband in order to finish high school in Michigan.
But according to witnesses, Jonathan fell behind in his studies, missed curfew, came home late often with friends and was arrested for drug possession two months before the shooting.
Jonathan, on probation for marijuana possession, had been hospitalized with hallucinations after eating psychedelic mushrooms, and on the day of the shooting had failed a court-ordered drug test that showed he had K2, a synthetic drug, in his urine.
K2 is found in a room deodorizer called Spice, but smoked by users to obtain a marijuana-like high.
Layne, who drove her grandson to the test, said she had argued with Jonathan on the way home and he threatened to take her car and cash and run away because he thought he would be sent to jail for violating his probation.
Layne said she armed herself with the handgun purchased just a few weeks earlier to make him listen to her.
And during the argument Layne said she shot Jonathan after he kicked her in the chest and arm.
Walton described Layne as a murderer who could have called for police help instead of shooting her grandson six times.
Sabbota portrayed Layne as a dutiful grandmother who loved her grandson but grew to fear him because of often violent behavior and escalating drug use.
Michael Hoffman, a retired attorney, described his convicted mother-in-law "as a thorn in my side."
Both parents described the teenage victim as "a great kid" who never gave them any trouble.
He said due to family problems, including a daughter who had undergone six brain surgeries, his son would have been living with one of them in Arizona.
"She was difficult, meddlesome and very controlling," Hoffman said of his ex-mother-in law.
"I never liked her. … I expected her to take care of him in exemplary fashion. It wasn't the case."
Layne's daughter — who referred to her mother as "Sandra Layne" — said she talked with her every month and was never advised of any problems with her son. She also said Jonathan did not mention any problems.
Jennifer Hoffman said she never wants to speak to her mother again.
"I'm glad she's put away and can't harm anyone else," the daughter said.