Did Sandra Layne's Testimony Help Her Case?

The 75-year-old West Bloomfield grandmother tried to convince jurors that the shooting death of grandson Jonathan Hoffman was not murder, but self defense. Will it work?


Taking the witness stand in one's own defense at trial is always a calculated risk, but was one defense attorney Jerome Sabbota said early on would be important to Sandry Layne's self-defense theory. The 75-year-old West Bloomfield woman's tearful appearance on the witness stand for the better parts of two days punctuated a crucial week of testimony in Oakland County Circuit Court last week.


Of Interest: Read all of Ronelle Grier's Trial Talk blogs from the courtroom on Patch.


The trial is scheduled to continue with closing arguments Monday morning.

We want to know:

Do you think her testimony will convince jurors that she is not guilty of murder?

This an occasional feature in West Bloomfield Patch that is spurred by discussions taking place at homes, coffee shops and chatgroups all around town. We want to hear your opinions about certain topics making headlines and are looking forward to your feedback. Know what the Talk About Town is in your circles? Share them with us or Email Art at art.aisner @patch.com, and it could be a future topic.

Catherine Indiana March 18, 2013 at 12:57 PM
Premeditated murder by a murderess that feels she'll go free due to her age. No one would shoot a kid 3 times, then wait a few minutes and shoot them 3 more times while they lay critically wounded on the floor BEGGING for their life UNLESS are a cold-blooded KILLER.
Sandy Elf March 18, 2013 at 04:26 PM
Only relatives of drug addicts who lived in their house can understand why this grandma did what she did. When somebody you love turns a monster you have only two options - end your life or his. Sure she could start with putting him in rehab and may be treated, but it is his behavior that made her crazy. She needs to be out of jail and under doctor's care.
cookiepro2 March 18, 2013 at 06:53 PM
From what I've read, no, Layne did not act in self-defense. She fired 10 shots over 20 minutes against an unarmed person? I am surprised given the circumstances that this ever came to trial, why didn't her attorney plea bargain for manslaughter. Layne sounds like a control freak with a inflated ego, and a desire to be the hero coming to the rescue for her family, with a detachment from reality. Vis-a vis, Jonathon being "dumped" on her, she was the one that offered to have Jonathon live with her to finish off his senior year (in an attempt to help with the family's medical crisis). She is the one who bought a gun for the purpose of using against grandson a month ago and didn't tell anyone about it, she's the one who told her husband to take a walk while she dealt with grandson, she's the one who wouldn't let grandson leave her home and brought out gun to prevent him from doing so. Control freak with a severe detachment from reality and her plea of self-defense (with no admittance of guilt or remorse) is a continuation of detachment from reality.
Catherine Indiana March 18, 2013 at 09:42 PM
You hit the nail on the head cookiepro2.
cookiepro2 March 19, 2013 at 04:55 AM
Catherine, what is so sad especially for anyone who has parented teenagers is you know it is not a bed of roses, but in most cases it's a temporary stage. It is not easy for them going through adolescense with hormonal changes and the brain still maturing. Sometimes you look at your surly teen and wonder where the sweet 11-year old went. If you are careful and lucky, they avoid the pitfalls of substance abuse, and even with that help can be had, teens are remarkably changeable and salvagable. It is too bad Jonathon didn't have a chance with the grandma who must have thought she was practicing tough love by getting out a gun. I hope she doesn't get off if only as a deterrent to others...you can't get away with murder. As for sentencing, that is the time for her to appeal to the judge for leniency based on her age, mental state, unlikely threat to society, and the healing needed for the family.


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