LOCAL L.A. Now

Man gets 25 years in toddler's beating death

A 24-year-old man was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison for killing his girlfriend's 16-month-old son.

Stephen Douglas Hoffman struck the toddler in the head up to 21 times while he was babysitting at an Azusa home, according to prosecutors.

Hoffman was watching Malaikye Payne in August 2011 while the child's mother was at work on an overnight shift.

HOMICIDE REPORT: A story for every victim

Around 3:30 a.m., Hoffman texted the mother a photo of Malaikye, which showed a bruise beginning to develop on the child's face.  

"Hoffman told her that the child fell off the bed and onto a toy," the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said in a statement.

The mother returned home and went to sleep around 6 a.m. Three hours later, Hoffman alerted her that Malaikye was having breathing problems.

The mother called 911, and the child was taken to a hospital. He was brain dead on arrival.

Since 2007, at least 11 homicides have been reported in Azusa, according to The Times' Homicide Report database.

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robert.lopez@latimes.com

Twitter: @LAJourno

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