Marine drill instructor gets 10 years in prison

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CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (AP) - A Marine Corps drill instructor has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for abusing young recruits, especially Muslims, one of whom killed himself.

The eight-man jury at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, on Friday also sentenced Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix to forfeiture of all pay, reduction of his rank to private and a dishonorable discharge.

The military jury convicted the 34-year-old Iraq veteran Thursday of maltreatment of recruits at the Marine Corps' Parris Island, South Carolina, boot camp.

The jury of five sergeants and three officers determined that Felix punched, kicked and choked recruits, zeroing in on three Muslim military volunteers he insulted as "terrorist" for special mistreatment.

Felix was one of six drill instructors at Parris Island charged with abuse after the March 2016 suicide of one of those three Muslim recruits.

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A Marine Corps drill instructor was convicted by a military jury of physically abusing young recruits, sometimes while drunk, and focusing his fury on three Muslim-American military volunteers.

The eight-man jury at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, determined Thursday that Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix was guilty of hazing and maltreatment of recruits at the Marine Corps' Parris Island, South Carolina, boot camp.

The 34-year-old Iraq veteran could be sentenced to military prison, financial penalties and a dishonorable discharge. The jury will begin sentencing deliberations Friday.

Felix was accused in more than three dozen criminal counts of being a central figure in an abusive group of drill instructors at Parris Island that came to light after the March 2016 suicide of one of the Muslim-American recruits Felix targeted.



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A military jury is deliberating whether a Marine Corps drill instructor is guilty of beating, stomping and choking new recruits.

The eight-man jury at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, began discussions Thursday into whether Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix abused young Marine hopefuls and zeroed in on Muslim-Americans because of their heritage and religion. The 34-year-old Iraq veteran was charged after the Marines investigated why one of his Muslim trainees at the Parris Island, South Carolina, boot camp committed suicide last year.

Investigators found unchecked abuse of recruits by junior drill instructors at the training depot. Felix and five other drill instructors and the training battalion's commanding officer were charged. Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Joshua Pena said 11 others faced lesser, administrative discipline.

A military jury begins deliberating whether a Marine Corps drill instructor accused of beating new recruits and targeting Muslim-Americans did his job despite accounts of aggression against young troops.

The eight-man jury at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, starts deliberating Thursday whether Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix is guilty of maltreating three Muslim recruits. A Pakistani-American recruit from Michigan committed suicide at the Parris Island, South Carolina, boot camp last year after Felix barked at and slapped him.

Felix also is accused of obstruction of justice for telling recruits not to cooperate with investigators after the suicide. He's also charged with drunk and disorderly conduct, and making false official statements. He has pleaded not guilty.

Felix faces the possibility of time in a military prison, financial penalties and a dishonorable discharge.



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A military jury will soon begin deciding the fate of a Marine Corps drill instructor who's accused of punching, choking and kicking recruits, especially three Muslim volunteers whom he derided as "terrorists."

The eight-man jury at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, starts deliberating Thursday whether Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix is guilty of maltreating three Muslim recruits. One of them committed suicide at the Parris Island, South Carolina, boot camp after Felix barked at and manhandled him.

His chief defense attorney said Wednesday prosecution witnesses gave contradictory accounts. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Bridges said the brawny drill instructor called all recruits "terrorist."

Prosecutor Lt. Col. John Norman called Felix a "bully" and said eyewitnesses testified to seeing Felix slug recruits in the face and hit others with a rifle, abusing recruits sometimes while drunk.

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A military prosecutor says a Marine Corps drill instructor was a "bully" who punched, choked and kicked recruits, and focused his abuse on three Muslim volunteers whom he derided as "terrorists."

Lt. Col. John Norman said Wednesday in closing arguments that eyewitnesses testified to seeing gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix slug recruits in the face and hit others with a rifle, terrorizing recruits sometimes while drunk.

Felix did not testify in his defense. His attorneys were expected to present their summary of the case later Wednesday.

Felix is on trial at Camp LeJeune, charged with three counts of maltreatment toward three Muslim recruits. One of them committed suicide at the Parris Island, South Carolina, boot camp after Felix barked at and manhandled him.

A Marine investigation after the suicide led to charges against six drill instructors and the training battalion's former commanding officer.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Closing arguments could begin soon for a former Marine Corps drill instructor facing court-martial on charges including cruelty and maltreatment.

Prosecutors have spent more than a week at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina laying out the case against Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix. They returned to court Wednesday.

Several witnesses testified that Felix punched, choked and kicked recruits at the Marine Corps' Parris Island, South Carolina, training center and was especially cruel toward Muslims, calling them terrorists.

Investigators said that after a confrontation with Felix, 20-year-old recruit Raheel Siddiqui fell three stories to his death in a suicide.

Felix's lawyer says the stories were blown out of proportion and some contradict others.

The Marine Corps has said Felix's case is part of widespread hazing of recruits involving nearly two dozen people.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)