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.”