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Will Jury Be Swayed By 'Grandma Factor' During Sandra Layne Trial?

PONTIAC (WWJ) - Jury selection gets underway Monday in the murder trial involving Sandra Layne, the grandmother accused of shooting her grandson while he was on the phone with 911 begging for help.

The 75-year old grandmother is facing an open murder charge for the shooting death of her 17-year old grandson Jonathan Hoffman.

What should court watchers expect? WWJ's Legal Analyst Charlie Langton said the slight appearance and age of Layne, a retired school teacher, could sway a jury.

While 911 tapes depicted the teen begging for help as shots were fired at him, Layne said she felt threatened by her grandson and Layne's attorney, Jerome Sabbota, described Hoffman as a regular drug user, who tested positive for the synthetic drug K-2 at a meeting with his probation officer on the day he was killed.

Sabbota said toxicology results show that Hoffman's urine tested positive for traces of synthetic marijuana, although no traces were detected in his blood.

Hoffman lived with Layne, a mother of five children, because she took in her grandson while his parents divorced and relocated to Arizona.

Langton said while sympathy should play no role in the case, the facts that have arisen thus far would lend one to believe that this will be an emotionally charged case.

Layne, of West Bloomfield, faces life in prison if convicted on the first-degree murder charge.

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