Grandmother to Stand Trial in Shooting Death of Grandson
911 call placed by Jonathan Hoffman, 17, in which the West Bloomfield native pleads for his life, is played in open court Monday.
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Jonathan Hoffman called 911 and pleaded for help after being shot, in a recording played at his grandmother's preliminary examination at 48th District Court Monday.
"My grandma shot me," Hoffman said. "I'm going to die. Help me."
Prosecutors say Hoffman, 17, died May 18 as a result of multiple gunshot wounds to his upper body at the hands of Sandra Layne, 74, in the West Bloomfield condominium which she owns on Brookview Lane.
Layne was bound over for trial to Oakland County Circuit Court by Judge Kimberly Small on an open charge of murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
During the six-minute call, Hoffman explained that he was shot in his chest and sitting down before a back-and-forth exchange with the dispatcher. Then, he cried out.
"I got shot again," Hoffman cried out. "Please help."
Later, a shrill voice, different from that of Hoffman's, can be heard crying out: "Let go. Let go!"
Among those listening to the call were Layne, who cried and rocked back and forth, uncuffed in an orange jumpsuit.
West Bloomfield Police Department officers testified to hearing three gunshots ring out after they were called to the scene, as they walked from their vehicles to the condo.
"Three gunshots, one after another, in sequential order," testified WBPD Officer Derick Kassab.
Kassab continued that Layne gave herself up to police at her front door, where officers later found a Glock with blood on it. Layne herself was found with blood on her hands and clothing.
According to testimony, Layne was hysterical, screaming that she had just shot and killed her grandson, even after being placed in a police car.
Sgt. Joseph Spencer, who was the shift supervisor that day, described a gory scene inside: "there wasn't a whole lot of areas that didn't have some kind of blood spatter" on the first level, he said.
A haze of gunpowder in the air was found at the foot of a staircase leading to a loft where Hoffman's body was found, barely moving, face-down and surrounded by a pool of blood.
WBPD evidence technician David St. Germaine testified that he found nine spent shell casings from the handgun found at the scene; another was found later, according to attorneys.
Deputy Oakland County Medical Examiner Ruben Ortiz-Reyes testified that Hoffman died from bleeding after "immediately-incapacitating, rapidly-fatal" wounds to the abdomen, upper chest, and arm — five gunshots total.
Ortiz-Reyes said that evidence was found on the body suggesting the gunshots took place from very close range, a maximum of three feet away.
Defense attorney Jerome Sabbota had questioned the teenager's use of K2, or Spice, in the media in weeks leading up the preliminary exam.
Sabbota said Hoffman had tested positive for K2 on the day of the incident, leading to an argument with his grandmother.
Ortiz-Reyes confirmed that although Hoffman had not been found with drugs in his system at his initial screening, that additional testing of his urine revealed the presence of synthetic cannibinoids in his system.
"He was afraid he was going to jail," Sabbota told Patch in a June article. "He tested positive and he signed an admission ... this was a situation in which Mrs. Layne had drove him to get tested and drove him back. It started an argument."
Small's ruling came as little surprise to Sabbota, who had pushed for Layne to be bound over on charges of second-degree murder.
"Self-defense is an affirmative defense, which means that evidence needs to be brought forth," Sabbota explained. "If you listen closely to the 9-1-1 tape, (Hoffman) is grabbing (Layne), he's holding on to her, he's not letting go."
Sabbota estimates the case will go to trial early next year.