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Ex-local man sentenced for 18-month-old's death

Published February 18. 2013 05:05PM

Joshua Kruzik, a former Lansford resident and a former Marine, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison over the death of an 18-month-old girl in California.

Kruzik, a 2007 graduate of Panther Valley High School, had been convicted of second-degree murder and assault on a child, causing her death.

Judge Rodney Cortez, in a Joshua Tree, Calif. courtroom, sentenced Kruzik to 15 years to life for his second-degree murder conviction, combined with 25 years to life for assaulting a child and causing death.

The charges stem from the death on Nov. 20, 2010 of Audrey Allen, in Twentynine Palms, Calif.

Audrey's father, Timothy, found the child in her crib and not breathing. Kruzik, who was staying with Allen and his wife, Melissa, performed CPR on the child until emergency medical personnel arrived.

Both parents were Marines stationed at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. Kruzik was stationed at New River Air Station in Jacksonville, N.C., and was on temporary assignment in California.

The baby was taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center where she was declared brain dead. She died a day later.

An autopsy determined Audrey died from blunt-force trauma to the head, and the death was ruled a homicide.

Later, when Kruzik was questioned by officials, he said he had tripped and fallen on the child.

Then in another interview, Kruzik told police that he was "extremely drunk" and got angry when the child wouldn't stop crying. According to testimony at the murder trial for Kruzik, the former Marine told police he hit Audrey three to five times, knocking her down.

In an effort to revive her, Kruzik reportedly "mildly shook" her and placed his hands over her mouth, thinking she might wake up if he kept her from breathing.

He also tried to induce vomiting to revive her.

On Dec. 2, 2010, Kruzik was dishonorably discharged from Marine duty.

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