WBPD Dispatchers, Officers Testify in Grandmother-Murder Trial

Testimony began Tuesday as Sandra Layne, 75, faces a murder charge for teen grandson's slaying in her West Bloomfield condo.


The final minutes of West Bloomfield teenager Johathan Hoffman's life came into focus Tuesday as the trial of his grandmother — and accused killer — began in Oakland County Circuit Court. And the West Bloomfield Police Department dispatchers and officers that witnessed it all unfold were a major part of the proceedings.

Layne, 75, faces one count of open murder after in the West Bloomfield condominium they shared on Brookview Lane.

Two WBPD dispatchers testified that they received multiple calls about the shooting within a 10-minute span, including the 9-1-1 call from Hoffman, who was wounded and pleading for help, WDIV-TV reported.

During his opening statement earlier Tuesday, Assistant Oakland County Prosecutor Paul Walton focused on the 9-1-1 call and repeatedly quoted Hoffman as he told dispatchers Layne shot him. Nearly three minutes later she shot him again, this time in stomach, and Hoffman could feel his life slipping away, Walton told jurors.

“This young man has two lifelines to the world. One to a neighbor . . . and the other a 9-1-1 dispatcher, where he is begging for help, pleading for assistance. Where he knows at 17 years of age, he is dying," Walton said.

During his opening statement, Jerome Sabbota, Layne's attorney, argued that the 9-1-1 call also revealed sounds of a struggle between Layne and Hoffman, which play into his claim of self defense.

“You hear her screaming let, go, let go let go!,” Sabbota said.

West Bloomfield Police Officer Brian Tash also testified that he was among the first officers to respond to the scene and heard three shots as he approached Layne's residence. Along with a handgun, he testified that she saw blood on the walls, kitchen and basement once inside, WDIV-TV reported.

Lt. Tim Diamond said Tuesday that several officers that work the afternoon shift were expected to testify during the first few days of the trial. Oakland County Circuit Judge Denise Langford Morris scheduled the trial to last a few weeks, during which Layne is also expected to testify, attorneys said. The court has other matters scheduled Wednesday and testimony is expected to continue Thursday.


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