Woman charged with grandson's murder undergoes cross examination

Prosecution questions Sandra Layne about shooting death of grandson at West Bloomfield home

By Roger Weber - Reporter

PONTIAC, Mich. - Under cross examination Thursday for the deadly shooting of her 17-year-old grandson, Sandra Layne said over and over, "I can't answer 'Yes' or 'No.'"

Layne admits to shooting her grandson Jonathan Hoffman in the loft of her West Bloomfield condo. The prosecutor asked her why she went to the basement, where investigators found her bloody footprints.

"I went down the basement because I was afraid and I wanted to get away from this," Layne said.

She was asked why she didn't call 911 from one of the several phones in the basement. Layne said she shot Hoffman when he kicked her in the chest and hit her in the face. However, the story allegedly was different when police arrived at the home that day.

"You make no complaints (to police) of any injuries. Correct?" the prosecutor asked.

"I'm not in that frame of mind. I'm screaming," Layne said.

Layne's attorney brought her back to the turbulent relationship she had with Hoffman, whose behavior became volatile in the weeks leading up to the shooting. He failed a drug test the day of the shooting. Layne says he was upset and demanding her car and cash.

The Prosecution asked her why she shot the gun.

"Because he was attacking me," she said, crying.

She said he had never attacked her before that and she did not want to hurt him.

The testimony ended with questions from the jury. One jury member asked Layne what reason she had for bringing her handgun into Hoffman's room. The juror asked Layne why she thought the gun was going to calm him down.

After a long pause and an instruction to respond directly to the question, she said, "I just didn't know what to do. Somebody else might have done it different and I just did it that way. I don't know."

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