Prosecutors want mandatory sentence for woman convicted of grandson’s murder
DETROIT — A 75-year-old Detroit-area woman convicted of killing her teen grandson is asking for just a year in custody for murder, on top of a mandatory two-year prison sentence for using a gun.
Sandra Layne’s attorney filed the request this week ahead of her sentencing on April 18. Jerome Sabbota told a judge that the public doesn’t need to be protected from Layne, nor does the prison system need to rehabilitate her.
“Sandra Layne is in her own prison. … There is nothing that anybody can do to turn the clock back to the awful events that occurred on May 18, 2012,” Sabbota wrote. “There are no winners or losers in a case such as this.”
She was convicted last month of second-degree murder and a gun crime in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Jonathan Hoffman.
Authorities are awaiting a complete pre-sentence report in the case but oppose Layne’s request for a light punishment. Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper said guidelines call for at least 12 years in prison, in addition to a mandatory two-year punishment for using a firearm.
“There is no reason to go below the guidelines,” Cooper said Friday.
Assistant prosecutor Paul Walton, who handled the trial, said the evidence would make a stiff punishment appropriate. He noted that Hoffman was shot six times, including twice in the back.
Layne claimed she killed her grandson in self-defense during a physical altercation last May at a home they shared in Oakland County’s West Bloomfield Township, but jurors rejected that defense. A critical piece of evidence was a recording of a 911 call in which the teen pleaded for help while being shot again by Layne.
“This was an execution,” Walton said after the verdict.
Layne, who is being held without bond at the county jail, will likely get credit for 11 months already spent in custody. In Michigan, the state parole board determines when to release an inmate from prison. Eligibility usually kicks in after the minimum sentence is served.
“Any lengthy sentence of incarceration most likely will be a death sentence to her,” Sabbota said.
Hoffman was living with his grandmother during his final year of high school while his parents were in Arizona tending to a daughter with a brain tumor. He had instances of drug use and tested positive for synthetic marijuana on the day he was killed.
“She did everything she could in an attempt to save this young man so he would be successful. To no avail,” Sabbota wrote.
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