Grandmother Sandra Layne charged with murder of grandson

WEST BLOOMFIELD, MI - The grandmother accused of shooting and killing her grandson in Michigan last Friday reportedly feared her grandson was using synthetic pot and that he would kill her in a violent rage.

Sources tell Scripps station Action News 74-year-old Sandra Layne saw the story of the Cipriano family and feared she would meet the same fate. 

Bob Cipriano was murdered and his teenaged son and wife were beaten during a baseball bat attack inside their Farmington Hills home last month. The killings were allegedly carried out by their son and friend who were said to have been on synthetic pot during the attack.

Monday afternoon at Sandra Layne's arraignment, she was charged with open murder at 48th District Court in Bloomfield Township.  In open murder trials, a jury decides whether a defendant is guilty of first or second degree murder.

The petite mother of five and grandmother of nine kids sat quietly as she also learned she has a firearms charge against her.

No bond was set.

Several neighbors called police after they heard the gunshots. Even 17-year-old Jonathan Hoffman called 911 for help after police said that his grandmother shot him multiple times. The teenager died at Botsford Hospital.

One of Layne's attorneys said Hoffman tested positive for synthetic marijuana.

"All we know for sure is a domestic situation obviously got out of hand and we have a deceased subject as a result," said Lt. Tim Diamond with the West Bloomfield Police Department.  Police are not saying how the argument started.

In court, it was revealed that Hoffman was shot eight times.

The shooting happened at the Maple Place Villas condo complex in West Bloomfield, a gated community where the grandparents live.

A detective took the stand saying when officers arrived, she commented that she had just murdered her grandson.

When Hoffman's friends heard about his death they ran to the police department in utter disbelief. Even the grandmother's attorney has not dealt with this scenario before.

"I have never seen a grandmother kill a grandson," said attorney Jerome Sabbota. Family members retained Sabbota who spoke with the grandmother Saturday morning for a few hours.

"She's fragile, she's scared, and she's upset. She feels tremendous sorrow," said Sabbota.

The grandfather was not home at the time of the shooting. Police took the grandmother to the hospital to be checked out for medical conditions and the hospital released her to police this morning where she is still in custody.

Police recovered a handgun used in the shooting but will not say who it belongs to. The elderly woman's attorney says she bought the gun, a .40 caliber semi-automatic, to protect her and her husband against burglars.

This is not the first time there has been a domestic dispute between grandmother and grandson. The police were called to the home back in March but no charges were ever filed.

"I would categorize it as a typical family argument that was diffused and no arrests were made at that time," said Lt. Tim Diamond.

Hoffman attended an alternative school called Farmington Central High School. He had been living with his grandparents for the past six months. His sister lives in Arizona with one of their parents.

"He didn't want to stay at home that's why he was with Grandma. Grandma was responsible for him. Grandma made sure he went to school. Grandma drove him to school. Grandma took him to court. Grandma took care of him," said Sabbota.

Sabbota said that Hoffman had other recent troubles with police.

Sabbota's partner Mitchell Ribitwer was in court representing Layne during her arraignment.  He described Hoffman as "troubled" and added there were drugs inside the home at the time he was killed.

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