When a Grandmother Shoots and Kills Her Grandson

The tragic case of Jonathan Hoffman

Jonathan Hoffman — Image attribution: Jonathan’s personal picture (Creative Commons)

Although Jonathan was shot more than once, he managed to call 911. And then he yelled,

Jonathan: I’ve just been shot.

Dispatcher: How did you get shot?

Jonathan: My grandma, my grandma shot me.

Dispatcher: Your grandma and grandpa shot you?

Jonathan: My grandma. I’m gonna die. Help!

In the background of the call recording, three more shots can be heard firing. Jonathan screamed in pain. And then there was silence.

Jonathan Hoffman was a 17-year-old boy from West Bloomfield, outside of Detroit, Michigan. He was in his last year at Farmington Central High School.

Jonathan was a smart funny kid. He even built his computer from scratch. And he planned to attend Eastern Michigan University.

Jonathan Moved in With His Grandmother

In early 2012, Jonathan’s parents’ relationship was very unstable. The couple planned to get a divorce.

In addition, Jonathan’s sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor. As a result, Jonathan’s parents and sister moved to Arizona. They left Jonathan behind in his grandmother’s care. These events that were happening left Jonathan depressed.

He resorted to using drugs, specifically synthetic marijuana.

At one point, Jonathan was caught with marijuana in his car, and he was placed on probation. Jonathan was also drug tested regularly from the time of his arrest.

Jonathan’s Grandmother Became Too Controlling

Jonathan’s grandmother, 72-year-old Sandra Layne, became extremely controlling of Jonathan.

Jonathan failed one of his drug tests, which made the situation worse. It was evident that Jonathan’s drug use was getting out of hand. But Sandra didn’t send her grandson to rehab.

She figured that she knew the best way to keep him in line.

Sandra Murdered Jonathan

On May 18th, 2012, Jonathan tested positive for drugs again. Sandra wasn’t happy about this since she was the one who drove him to the testing site.

Later that day, Jonathan was getting ready in his bathroom. He had plans to hang out with his friends that afternoon. But, Sandra objected to this. She prohibited Jonathan from going out that afternoon.

Jonathan wasn’t having it.

The two got into an argument in which Jonathan was unruly.

Sandra had had enough of Jonathan by this point. She told her husband to take their dog for a walk. Then Sandra reached for her handgun and threatened Jonathan with it.

Jonathan immediately got defensive. Then Sandra shot Jonathan twice in the chest. Sandra ran out of bullets, so she went downstairs to get more.

Meanwhile, Jonathan managed to call the police.

Sandra returned to the room where Jonathan was amidst the call. She pulled the trigger again and shot at Jonathan. Jonathan couldn’t do anything other than beg for help.

Sandra’s Arrest

The police arrived at Sandra’s residence and found Sandra outside.

Sandra approached the police with her hands in the air. And she admitted that she murdered her grandson. The police found Jonathan lying dead inside. Jonathan was shot six times, including twice in his back.

Why did Sandra kill her grandson?

Jonathan’s murder was never a case of who did it. It was about why.

It was discovered that Sandra purchased a semi-automatic handgun a few days before she killed her grandson. Hence, Sandra premeditated murdering her grandson before she did it.

The question is, why?

Sandra blamed Jonathan’s parents for her brutal actions.

According to Sandra, Jonathan’s parents dumped Jonathan on her when they moved to Arizona. And Sandra didn’t want to stay with him. The situation got worse when Jonathan started using drugs.

Jonathan became unmanageable for Sandra. And she killed him to protect herself.

Sandra’s Trial

In May 2013, Sandra went on trial for the second-degree murder of her grandson.

Jurors dismissed her lawyer’s claims that she acted out of self-defense. The reasoning was that Sandra hunted Jonathan down with her handgun.

Sandra also continued to shoot at Jonathan multiple times until he was dead. This showed that she had a motive for killing him.

Sandra was found guilty of the second-degree murder of Jonathan. She will spend no less than twenty years in prison and a maximum of forty years.

In court, Sandra appealed her sentence and begged the judge for a reduced sentence of three years on the basis of her being old and scared.

“If I could go back, I never would have bought that gun. I would have said to his parents, it’s their responsibility, help him, take him….I don’t know what else to say. I just don’t know. I don’t want to die in jail. I’m so sorry.” — Sandra Layne.

Sources:Sandra Layne Sentence, detroitnews, wildabouttrial, dailymail

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