Grandma feared grandson: A 75-year-old grandma said she feared for her life before she shot her grandson last year, the woman testified in court on Wednesday.
A 75-year-old woman who fatally shot her grandson at their home in suburban Michigan in May 2012 said that she feared for her life after he displayed erratic behavior and used synthetic marijuana.
Sandra Layne, who is charged with first-degree murder, cried as she testified on the witness stand in a court in Pontiac, Mich., located near Detroit.
Jonathan Hoffman, 17, was shot six times by Layne, according to a police testimonial earlier this week. Prosecutors argued that Layne kept shooting the boy as he begged for help over the phone to a 911 dispatcher.
Layne, however told jurors that she was “desperate and didn’t know what to do,” reported The Associated Press. On the day of the shooting, Layne said Hoffman failed a drug test and could have been sent to jail, but he demanded that she give him $2,000 and the keys to her car.
“I went into my bedroom and started looking for the gun,” Layne said. “I wanted him to pay attention to me. He had to listen. It wasn’t a conversation. It was arguing. Swearing.”
According to ClickonDetroit.com, Hoffman was agitated, swearing, and using “street language,” she said.
Her lawyer said she feared for her life because the boy also used synthetic marijuana, also known as Spice or K2, a psychoactive designer drug that is sprayed on herbs to mimic the effects of cannabis. Heavy doses are believed to cause agitation and possibly psychotic episodes, but there has been little research conducted on the effects of the substance.
Layne said she shot the teen after he kicked her and hit her in the head, forcing her to run to the basement and hide. She later returned, but Hoffman tried to grab her gun, and she shot him. Layne said she had recently bought a gun for protection because she feared Hoffman’s friends.
“I was afraid it would start all over again,” Layne said, adding that she earlier saw the boy being restrained while he was being treated at a hospital for drug use. “I knew he was troubled, but I didn’t realize he was that troubled,” she was quoted as saying.
A juror also asked a ballistics expert if an elderly woman could easily squeeze the trigger to a gun.
“It is a relatively light trigger pull and I would say that really isn’t something that I could nail down and say positively absolutely. The person’s physical condition and capabilities are well beyond my realm of expertise,” Shawn Kowlonich, a MSP firearms expert, was quoted by ClickonDetroit.com as saying.
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