Ex-teacher, 75, likely to do life in grandson's killing
PONTIAC, Mich. — A 75-year-old Detroit-area woman who killed her grandson expressed remorse on Thursday in court but repeatedly accused his parents of dumping a troubled boy at her doorstep.
The judge, though, wasn't swayed by Sandra Layne's desperate, emotional plea to avoid a sentence that likely would be life in prison.
Judge Denise Langford Morris sentenced Layne to at least 22 years in prison. The sentencing caps a wrenching case that revealed family strife, adolescent rebellion and fatal consequences.
Joanthan Hoffman was shot six times, including twice in the back, last spring.
The former teacher and real estate agent, said she shot him out of fear during a physical altercation. A jury in March rejected her claim of self-defense.
Prosecutors said there were no signs that Hoffman injured Layne.
In a recorded 911 call, Hoffman was shot again while pleading for help — a critical piece of evidence that jurors played over and over during deliberations.
Morris zeroed-in on the 911 call also, wondering why Layne simply didn't call police if she felt helpless.
“Grandmothers are supposed to protect. ... Why did you keep shooting — and how could you keep shooting?” Morris asked.
“You didn't have to keep shooting. Those were hollow-pointed bullets designed for a devastating impact.”
Layne sobbed heavily during a long, rambling address to the judge,.
“I'm sorry for what I did. I apologize to everyone I've hurt, everyone. ... Sorry is too small a word,” she said, pleading with Morris not to allow her to die in prison.
Layne will get credit for 11 months served in jail. Any release from prison after serving the minimum sentence would be determined by the Michigan Parole Board.
Hoffman was living with his grandmother during his last year of high school while his parents lived in Arizona, where a daughter was being treated for a brain tumor.
Hoffman had a history of drug use and had tested positive for synthetic marijuana on the day of the shooting.
Layne claimed that he feared failing probation and demanded money and a car to leave the area.
Prosecutors, though, said Hoffman was wearing just shorts and socks when he was killed and had made plans to see a friend that night, not to flee.
Layne's daughter, Jennifer Hoffman, urged the judge to show no mercy.
“She showed no mercy when she planned, stalked and murdered my son in his bedroom. Sandra Layne is pure evil and if given the opportunity would surely kill again.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Former GOP House Speaker Hastert indicted in banking violation
- California man beaten by deputies on video faces charges
- Justice Department seeks info on medical scope in superbug outbreaks
- Pataki formally opens White House bid, 8th from GOP
- Tar balls wash ashore in California
- Dinosaurs may have been warm-blooded after all
- Historic Martha’s Vineyard lighthouse moves inland
- Detroit-area police officer to stand trial in driver’s beating
- Baltimore gets bloodier as arrests drop post-riots
- Driver’s license ban for immigrant children ends in Nebraska
- FCC wants to extend $1.7B phone subsidy to broadband