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Area Man Sentenced for Murder of Girlfriend's 16-Month-Old Son

Stephen Douglas Hoffman, 24, will serve 25 years to life for killing his Azusa girlfriend's 16-month-old son.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

A man who killed his Azusa girlfriend's 16-month-old son was sentenced today to 25 years to life in state prison.

Superior Court Judge Thomas C. Falls imposed the term on Stephen Douglas Hoffman, 24, who was convicted Feb. 25 of second-degree murder and assault on a child causing death, according to Deputy District Attorney Taraneh Saba.

Hoffman was watching his girlfriend's baby, Malaikye Payne, while his girlfriend was working an overnight shift on Aug. 13, 2011, Saba said.

At about 2:20 a.m. that day, Hoffman texted his girlfriend an image of her son with a developing bruise on his face and told her that the boy had fallen off the bed and onto a toy, according to the District Attorney's Office.

The woman returned home after work, went to bed at 6 a.m. and called 911 three hours later after being alerted by Hoffman that her son was having difficulty breathing, according to the District Attorney's Office.

The boy was declared brain-dead when he was taken to a hospital, and was taken off life-support two days later.

A few months after the child's death, Hoffman changed his account of what had happened and said the child fell on the floor after jumping on the bed, the prosecutor said.

Coroner's officials testified that the boy suffered as many as 21 blows to the head, with doctors from the hospital testifying that it was one of the worst injuries they had seen to a child, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Hoffman was arrested seven months after the boy died, authorities said.

—City News Service

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