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Man to be sentenced for 2011 murder of 1-year-old

Malaikye Payne, a 1-year-old white boy, died Monday, Aug. 15, 2011, in the 700 block of North Pasadena Avenue in Azusa, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.

About 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 13, Malaikye was taken to a hospital after his mother called 911 because the child was having trouble breathing, said Det. Ronald Duval with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The child was pronounced brain dead upon arrival at the hospital and taken off life support two days later.

The child had been in the care of his mother’s boyfriend, who had sent a text message to the woman about 2:20 a.m. with a photo of the child developing a bruise on his face. The mother was told that the child had fallen off a toddler’s bed and onto a toy, Duvall said.

A few months after Malaikye died, the boyfriend, Stephen Hoffman, 24, changed his story and said that the child was jumping on an adult bed and fell on the floor, Duvall said. Hoffman was charged with murder seven months after the child died. During the trial, coroner’s officials testified that Malaikye had sustained as many as 21 blows to the head and called the injury one of the worst they had seen on a child.

Hoffman was convicted of murder Feb. 25 and faces 25 years to life in state prison when he is sentenced April 9.

Nicole Santa Cruz

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