A Carbon County man was convicted of killing a young girl he had been babysitting.
Joshua A. Kruzik, 23, a former Marine Corps corporal, was convicted by a California jury of killing an 18-month-old girl he was watching for a Marine couple at their home near the Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif.
The jury found Kruzik guilty of second degree murder last month following an eight day trial. Kruzik is a 2007 graduate of Panther Valley High School and formerly resided in Lansford. He faces life in prison when sentenced in November.
At the time of the incident, Nov. 20, 2010, Kruzik was stationed at New River Air Station in Jacksonville, N.C., but was staying with Timothy and Melissa Allen, both Marines stationed at Twentynine Palms, while attending training.
Information revealed that Kruzik was watching the child when the Allen's went out so Mrs. Allen could get a tattoo.
At the trial the prosecution introduced evidence that Kruzik had been using steroids and had been drinking heavily before going to babysit.
The day after the Allen's found their daughter dead, Kruzik returned to North Carolina. After an autopsy revealed the baby died of blunt force trauma, Kruzik was arrested in North Carolina and returned to California. That occurred in early December 2010. He has been in the San Bernardino County, Calif., prison since then awaiting trial.
Prosecutors also said Kruzik gave a statement confessing to the murder. He told investigators he hit the toddler because she was crying. After striking her the girl became unresponsive. Kruzik placed her in a crib after attempts to revive her failed. The child's father found her dead in the crib the next morning.
The autopsy revealed that the baby's brain swelled after she was beaten by Kruzik. He also strangled her and choked her, prosecutors' claimed.
He was also convicted of custodial assault charges.
He faces prison terms of 15 years to life and 25 years to life, on each count. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 30.
Kruzik was dishonorably discharged from the Marines after his arrest.