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Emotional closings in grandson's slaying

March 18, 2013 at 3:23 PM   |   Comments

PONTIAC, Mich., March 18 (UPI) -- Attorneys presented closing arguments Monday in the trial of a Michigan grandmother charged with shooting her 17-year-old grandson to death.

Sandra Layne, now 75, of Pontiac, Mich., is charged with first-degree murder and faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted of killing Jonathan Hoffman, a troubled 17-year-old who was living with Layne while finishing high school after his parents moved out of state.

Prosecutors urged jurors to look past the emotion of the case -- Layne admits shooting Hoffman May 18 but says it was in self-defense -- and evaluate the woman's actions in the moments leading up to the shooting, The Detroit News reported Monday.

Oakland County chief assistant prosecutor Paul Walton said Layne had a cellphone in her pocket following the latest in a string of disturbances between the two, the final one taking place after Hoffman failed a court-ordered drug test. But instead of calling police for help or trying to flee when the confrontation became physical, she instead retrieved a Glock handgun she'd purchased just weeks prior and fired 10 times as Hoffman called 911.

"Ow! No grandma ... I just got shot again ... ow, my stomach," Hoffman cried out during the recorded conversation.

"She walked away from him, by an exit, ignored the cellular phone in her pocket, and returns back up the stairs and shoots him again," Walton said. "That is deliberate. That is murder."

Hoffman was found in an upstairs loft in Layne's home, dead of multiple gunshot wounds.

Layne's attorney Jerome Sabbota portrayed an aging woman scared for her life and desperate to help a grandson she loved.

"There were two sides to Jonathan Hoffman," Sabbota said. "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.

"You've got to put yourself in her place, a 74-year-old woman. This is a tragedy but don't compound it with your verdict."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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