There have been many chilling legal stories in recent weeks, but none is as shocking as the murder of Jonathan Hoffman which took place on May 18th. Jonathan’s death was tragic because he was a 17 year old boy. His parents were divorcing and he wasn’t living with them. Yet the most appalling detail of this teen’s untimely end was that he was murdered by his own grandmother, Sandra Layne.
Many people are commenting about the actions of Layne, stating that she was a heartless individual. The issue is a complicated one because of Sandra Layne’s flawless reputation and because of the fact that Jonathan Hoffman been in trouble with the law before.
Jonathan and his grandmother lived together in West Bloomfield Township in Michigan. Jonathan was residing with his grandparents because his parents were in the midst of a messy divorce and were living outside of the state. From the information currently available, it is known that Jonathan has a run-in with police officers at least twice in the month of March.
On March 17th Jonathan’s car was pulled over in Farmington Hills and he received a ticket for possessing drug paraphernalia and marijuana. In addition, he gained a 93 day suspended sentence and was placed on probation for 12 months.
Only four days later, police officers received a complaint outside of the condo where Layne and her grandson were living. Jonathan was found outside of the property but his grandmother explained to the police that they were simply having a hard time because Jonathan had been yelling. No further investigation was conducted on the incident.
The night of May 18th is filled with confusion. The only evidence to consult is Layne’s personal testimony as well as a 911 call made by Jonathan. In the call he outwardly stated, “My grandma shot me. I’m going to die. Help.”
When police and emergency services arrived at the home, they found a hysterical Layne with her hands raised above her head, shouting “I murdered my grandson.” Jonathan was lying on the floor in an upstairs bathroom, with five bullets in his body. According to urine test results, he had synthetic marijuana in his system at the time.
Considering the results of the drug test, it was natural that Layne’s argument is that she was acting in self-defense. She had known about the erratic and dangerous actions synthetic marijuana users were capable of. For instance, a few weeks prior to the incident, a young man in a neighboring town was convicted of bludgeoning his father and almost killing his mother under the influence of this potent drug.
Prosecutors argue that even if Layne did initially act in self-defense, the case can still be considered a murder. Jonathan seemed to be completely coherent in his 911 call. Moreover, while he was making the call, additional shots were heard, after which he states, “I got shot, shot again.”
Layne’s lawyer claims that Jonathan was holding on to his grandmother even as he made the call. He says that if you listen closely, you can hear Jonathan grabbing his grandmother in the 911 call. Nevertheless, it was evident that the police were on their way, and thus Layne’s actions can still be considered to have a sinister motive.
If Layne is convicted, she could potentially spend life in prison. Interestingly enough, Layne is currently being prosecuted for ‘open murder,’ meaning that it is up to the jury to decide degree, if any, is attributed to the crime. She is due back in court in a few weeks.
For more information:
Jonathan Hoffman’s 911 call: http://on.aol.com/video/911-audio--my-grandma-shot-me--517410194
Open murder in Michigan: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_does_open_murder_mean_in_Michigan