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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.

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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 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, 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.

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 "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.

Debbie Thomas July 02, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Sad, but do not blame just the grandmother. The parents and all the adult members of the family made grave mistakes letting "someone else" be the parties responsible for a youth already on probation. Let the old lady go to take care of her 86 year old husband and don't make this any more costly to the family. Whatever vengence or $ the parents receive won't change things a bit. Everyone own up to your mistakes.
Chad July 03, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I disagree. There was no reason to gun him down, she should not be released into society so she can do more damage. Let her rot.
Debbie Thomas July 03, 2012 at 04:57 PM
If you insist on assigning blame at this too late stage, I would assign 5% to the grandmother and 95% to the parents who let the too-old-for-it grandparents have the responsibility of raising their wild child son.
Chad July 03, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Seems like you are the one who is assigning blame...I'm simply stating a fact. She murdered her grandson, in fact she shot him while he was in the phone with the police and then a few more times to make sure he was dead, and you think she would be fit to take care of her 86 year old husband? She would probably kill him too. I'm not saying that the parents bear no responsibilty, hey are obviously low lifes who didn't want to deal with a difficult child. However, grandma is the one who pulled the trigger, and she is the only one who is criminally liable. She had plenty of other options besides killing him.
Debbie Thomas July 03, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Chad--You make a convincing argument. Maybe what happened is simply that low lifes raise low lifes and we would all do well to raise our children very carefully. Thanks for your input.
chris. roznowski July 04, 2012 at 02:15 AM
I repeat my comment I made the other day. I do not condon what the grand mother did. But where are the parents of this troubled boy . Why did the parents pass him on to the grandmother to take carre of him. Sounds like they didn't want him and did not want to take responablity for him so they send him to grandma. Then police would not take him in when there was complaint at the house about him. The grandmother was a fraid of him and could not handle him.
Ronelle Grier July 04, 2012 at 06:38 AM
First of all, the parents are not "low lifes." They originally moved to Arizona as a family, and when they arrived, their 15-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The parents were consumed with her medical care, and Grandma invited Jonathan to stay with her while he finished his senior year in familiar surroundings. At the time, it seemed like the best option. Also, Grandma's attorney said the tapes showed that Jonathan was holding onto his grandmother; we don't know that. All we heard was her voice saying "let go." Jonathan may have been trying to push her hands off the gun and away from him so that she would stop shooting him. After five debilitating gunshots which collapsed both lungs and caused massive internal bleeding, how could he be endangering her? I do not buy self defense, not when she shot him that many times and he was unarmed. Also, the coroner said the K2 was in his urine, not his blood, which meant it had already passed through his system. He was not high at the time of the shooting.
Bonnie Chagnon July 04, 2012 at 01:53 PM
He was still alive on the 911 tape,did not sound like she was at any risk at this time,why did she have to shoot him again and again.I have (had) a son who now sits in prison for rageing drug offenses on me,I never once thought of sooting and killing him,I could never live with myself if I killed my child or grandchild.As far as saying he cme from a low life family,that isnt fair,out of control kids come from every kind of family.So glad to know that K2 and spice are no longer allowed in this stae,should have been done a long time ago.
Scott A August 12, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Ronelle Grier, thank you as you right on with the scenario. Jon will always be loved and missed.

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