Grandfather: Slain grandson ‘was a problem’
Sandra Layne owned a gun and knew how to use it, according to testimony on Friday from a gun dealer in the first-degree murder trial of a West Bloomfield grandmother accused of murdering her 17-year-old grandson Jonathan Hoffman.
Kevin Bedker, a gun dealer at Target Sports in Orchard said that he sold the handgun to Layne, 75, in April and she completed two training sessions.
Oakland County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Paul Walton asked Bedker if he saw Layne during those training sessions. “Yes sir,” responded Bedker.
Walton: “How would you describe her shooting at the second time?”
Bedker: “Proficient. She hit her target.”
The jury also heard testimony from Fred Layne, 87, the husband of Sandra Layne, who testified that his wife loved Hoffman, but the teenager was very troubled and she was scared of him.
Layne testified that his wife told him to take the dog for a walk the day after Hoffman returned from a drug test which showed traces of synthetic marijuana. When he returned around 4:45 p.m., he said he heard sirens and thought “I hope it’s not Johnny.”
“I saw my wife on the lawn and somebody came up to me … and said ‘You’d better get to Botsford Hospital,” Fred Layne said. Hoffman was taken to Botsford Hospital.
“I waited in the waiting room, and an officer or a doctor came in and said ‘John didn’t make it,’” he said.
The prosecution asked Layne about Hoffman’s behavior. Layne testified that “he was a problem.”
He also heard arguments between Hoffman and his parents, who live in Arizona and are in the middle of a divorce. “The arguments between his mother and father — they’d get on the telephone and the words that came out of his mouth were unbelievable,” Fred Layne said.
“Just things that you wouldn’t say to a parent.”
He also testified that Sandra and Hoffman would often argue, and during a few of those arguments the angry teenager smashed a $500 computer and once ripped two doors off the hinges. But he also testified that to his knowledge Hoffman never became violent with Sandra.
“She was just trying to do her duty as a grandma and get him through school. She would do anything for that kid.”
He said he knew that Sandra was afraid of Hoffman and his friends but that he didn’t know she had a gun. He said he was “flabbergasted” when he learned she owned a handgun.
Sandra Layne has never denied shooting her grandson but claims that it was self-defense. When police officers arrived at the scene, Layne said “I killed my grandson,” according to testimony Thursday from Officer David Curry, who was one of the first responders.
Testimony is scheduled to resume Monday, March 11.
Ryan Kerns, Esq., Wild About Trial
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