Jonathan Hoffman's father: He would have been a wonderful man

Father of teen murdered by grandmother at West Bloomfield home says he never knew there was trouble between his son, Sandra Layne

Author: Roger Weber, Local 4 Reporter, @RogerWLocal4, rogerw@wdiv.com
Published On: Mar 20 2013 06:14:57 PM EDT   Updated On: Mar 20 2013 07:30:24 PM EDT
OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. -

Michael Hoffman is answering a torrent of criticism about why his son Jonathan was living with his grandmother Sandra Layne.

"Those other people who write these comments should not judge, unless they want to be judged," Hoffman said.

Read more: Parents of slain West Bloomfield teen satisfied to see grandmother found guilty of murder

Hoffman says he and his wife divorced more than six years ago. They lived a block apart in Oakland County.

"I wanted my kids to have the benefit of their mother and as much of a family situation as we could possibly create," he said.

The family vacationed in Arizona for years. Hoffman says shortly after they all relocated to Arizona in 2011, his then 14-year-old daughter Jessica was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Watch: Uncut: Interview with Michael Hoffman

"(Jonathan's) mother and myself had to devote our attention almost exclusively to Jessica. He was in a new school, in a new state and all of this happened, and he pushed to go back to Michigan," Hoffman said.

Jonathan returned to Michigan to finish his senior year in high school, be with his friends and live with Layne.

"I was not happy about it. I wanted us to stay together as a family," Hoffman said.

Hoffman's ex-wife Jennifer supported the move.

"I went in every month for 10 days, and when you have a sick child with a brain tumor and she's taking so much of your time and you're trying to put her back together as best as you can with therapy and surgeries, I think people shouldn't judge until maybe they have been in my shoes," Jennifer said.

Michael Hoffman said he had no indication of his son using drugs in Arizona. However, in Michigan Jonathan was arrested for drug possession and was hospitalized after using mushrooms.

Hoffman says he didn't return to Michigan when Jonathan was hospitalized because he was busy with his daughter.

"Well I was busy taking care of Jessica. I mean, we had a regimen of physical and occupational therapy several times a week after her discharge," Hoffman said.

Commenters on ClickOnDetroit.com have accused Michael Hoffman of dumping his son.

"Jonathan was certainly not dumped. His grandmother opened up her house to him," the father said.

Hoffman said he had no idea there was any trouble between Jonathan and Layne. On May 18, Layne shot Jonathan to death at her West Bloomfield condo. He was 17 years old.

"Nobody expects these things to happen, they always happen to someone else. In this case, it happened to us," Hoffman said.

Hoffman said he has no regrets as a father with Jonathan.

"He was a wonderful son. He would have been a wonderful man if he was given the chance," Hoffman said.


Jonathan Hoffman