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Michigan woman says shooting of grandson was in self defense

A 75-year-old Michigan woman shot and killed her 17-year-old grandson because she was afraid for her life, her defense attorney told the jury at the beginning of her trial on March 5. The woman is facing a charge of first-degree murder and could face life in prison if convicted. It appears that the defendant will claim that the shooting was self-defense.

The teenager lived with his grandparents in West Bloomfield Township. In May 2012, there was an incident between the teen and his grandmother, described as small in stature, that ended with a 911 call by the 17-year-old. The teen told the dispatcher that his grandmother had shot him. There was a second shot a few minutes later as police drove to the home. The grandmother surrendered to police and told them that she had shot her grandson, according to one officer's testimony.

During opening statements, the prosecutor tried to paint the grandmother as a cold-blooded killer. But her defense attorney told the jury that the defendant was afraid of her grandson and believed the only way to protect herself the night of the incident was to shoot him. Investigators found traces of synthetic marijuana in the grandson's system after his death. Synthetic marijuana can cause hallucinations and mood swings in some cases.

"Why else would she shoot him?" the defense attorney asked. "This is a tragic case."

The grandmother is expected to testify in the trial. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution prevents the government from forcing defendants to testify in their own trials, but defendants may voluntarily do so if they and their attorney feel it will help their case.

Source: CBS News, "Trial begins for Mich. Grandmother accused of killing her grandson," March 6, 2013

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