A man was convicted Tuesday of murdering his girlfriend's 16-month-old son.
A Pomona Superior Court jury deliberated about 4 1/2 hours before finding Stephen Douglas Hoffman, 24, guilty of second-degree murder and assault on a child causing death, according to Deputy District Attorney Taraneh Saba.
Hoffman was watching his Azusa girlfriend's baby, Malaikye Payne, while his girlfriend was working an overnight shift on Aug. 13, 2011, according to the prosecutor.
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 the 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.
The boy's death was investigated by the Azusa Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Homicide Bureau. Hoffman was arrested seven months after the boy died, authorities said.
Hoffman is facing a maximum 25-year-to-life term in state prison, with sentencing set April 4 before Judge Thomas C. Falls.
– City News Service.