WEST BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -
The community was shocked to learn 17-year-old Jonathan Hoffman was shot eight times inside the gated condo neighborhood, and more shocked to learn who police say is the shooter: Hoffman's 74-year-old grandmother, Sandra Layne.
The story of what happened at the home on Friday begins a month earlier. It includes a troubled teen and a grandmother who allegedly feared for her life.
Complete coverage: Grandma accused of shooting, killing grandson
Friends say Hoffman was a good kid and the life of the party. However, he also was battling personal problems. It's alleged Hoffman was smoking pot while trying to cope with his parents' divorce and had recent run-ins with the law. When the couple broke up they both moved to Arizona. Hoffman wanted to stay in Metro Detroit to finish his senior year at the alternative education program at Farmington Central High School.
Michael Hoffman said he thought his son would be safe staying with his grandparents in West Bloomfield.
Jonathan Hoffman moved in with his grandparents this past fall, and almost from the start sources say there were heated fights between the teen and his grandmother.
The first time police encountered Hoffman was Saturday, March 17. According to police reports, Farmington Hills police ticketed Hoffman after finding pot and drug paraphernalia in the car he was driving. He was placed on probation.
Layne begged police to leave. Officers considered taking the teen away because of his erratic behavior. His grandmother apparently convinced investigators she had it under control.
On Monday, April 16, the murder of Robert Cipriano at his Farmington Hills home makes headlines. His son, Tucker Cipriano, is accused of beating his father, mother and brother. Investigators say Tucker, a troubled teen also enrolled in an alternative high school program, was on drugs.
Layne was convinced Jonathan could snap like Tucker Cipriano. They begin arguing about drugs and his behavior.
She paid $700 cash for a 40-caliber Glock 17. Local 4 is told she was in fear of an attack by her grandson and she wanted protection.
On Friday, May 18, another heated argument broke out. This time, Hoffman was rushed to the hospital. He was shot eight times, killing him.
Layne was arrested shortly after. Inside the home, police found several bullet holes and blood on the floor. Local 4 is told marijuana and a scale were removed from Hoffman's bedroom.
On Monday, May 21, Layne appeared in court. She was charged with open murder. She appeared weak and confused. Her 86-year-old husband was in the courtroom. He began sobbing as he walked outside.
On Tuesday morning, family and friends gathered to say goodbye to Hoffman. His parents returned from Arizona. They were devastated to hear the news.
Local 4 has learned Layne's daughter, Hoffman's mother, knew there were problems back in Michigan. However, Jonathan refused to move.
His father said his son wasn't a problem child. Layne's side of the family says the elderly woman not only battled health problems but she was battling a new problem: Her grandson.
It was a problem that those who knew her say Layne could not control.
Layne will be back in court soon where the debate will begin: Was this self-defense or cold-blooded murder?
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