Grandma, 74, Charged with Murder of Grandson

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on May 23, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Jonathan Hoffman, 17, died Friday in the upscale Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield Township. His grandmother, Sandra Layne, is accused of shooting him 8 times in the chest, including while he was on the phone with emergency services.

Layne has since been arraigned on murder charges and is being held without bond. Her attorneys are claiming that she was afraid of her grandson and that she shot him "because she felt she had no choice."

This statement suggests that Sandra Layne plans to argue self defense should she get to the trial phase. Given the facts, she may not be very successful.

Jonathan Hoffman initially called 911 on Friday to report that he had been shot by his grandmother. While on the phone, he screamed and said he had been shot again, according to MSNBC. Officers arriving on the scene also heard more gunshots. Layne also answered the door and confirmed she had killed her grandson.

Now, no one is denying there were problems at the house. Police were called in March and found Jonathan Hoffman yelling in the street, according to MSNBC. Drug paraphernalia was also found after his death.

However, to claim self-defense, an individual must reasonably believe that deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm. When Sandra Layne fired the first shot, this may have been true. But the second? The third? The eighth?

Jonathan Hoffman was on the phone for 3 minutes before his grandmother shot him again, according to The Detroit News. He arguably wasn't an aggressor during that time. And if he wasn't, then Sandra Layne likely had no legal right to shoot him again. And again. And again.

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