Marine on Steroids on Trial for Murder of Toddler

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A former United States Marine, accused of murdering an 18-month old girl, had been using anabolic steroids in the months preceding the toddler’s death. Joshua Allen Kruzik is on trial facing one count of murder and one count of assault on a child causing death in the case of Audrey Allen. Audrey died from extensive head injuries at the Loma Linda University Medical Center on November 20, 2012.

Kruzik was left alone to babysit Audrey when he beat her unconscious in response to her crying in the middle of the night. The attorney for Kruzik seems prepared to invoke the “dumbbell defense” and blame his client’s violent behavior, at least in part, on steroid-induced “roid rage”.

David Kohn, the defense attorney for Kruzik, acknowledged that his client would accept responsibility for the blunt-force trauma that resulted in the death of Audrey. Yet, Kohn maintained that his client is not guilty of murder due to an incapacitated mental state at the time of the incident.

“He didn’t have the mental state that is necessary for this charge,” said Cohn. “I feel that once you hear the evidence, you will find that Mr. Kruzik is not guilty of the crimes he’s being charged with.”

The defense may be hoping to convince a jury that the culprit for Kruzik’s incapacitated mental state was his recent use of anabolic steroids. Kruzik was reportedly trying to “wean” himself off of steroids at the time of the murder.

Alcohol intoxication may also be blamed for Kruzik’s violent behavior. Kruzik arrived for babysitting duty intoxicated after drinking heavily at a local bar.

Kruzik was friends with Audrey’s parents. Timothy Allen and Melissa Marnell were fellow Marines stationed at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) in Twentynine Palms, California. Kruzik had just finished a training assignment at the marine base and was spending the weekend at Allen and Marnell’s house.

Allen and Marnell both testified that they were aware of Kruzik’s steroid use. Marnell, who had a secret four-month affair with Kruzik in the months prior to her daughter’s murder, testified in court that she kept syringes in her home so that she could help inject Kruzik with steroids when he visited.

Given that Kruzik’s steroid use has been well-established by multiple witnesses, it will be interesting to hear how much credibility the jury gives any “dumbbell defense” stategy should the defense attempt to use it .


Vaughn, C. (September 18, 2012). Steroid use surfaces in murder trial. Retrieved from