A Camp Lejeune Marine, who urinated on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, will only be reduced in rank by one grade after his guilty plea to the bulk of those charges.
Staff Sgt. Edward Deptola pleaded guilty as his court martial began this afternoon at Camp Lejeune.
Deptola was accused of desecrating remains, posing for unofficial photographs with human casualties and failing to properly supervise lower-ranking Marines.
Under a plea agreement, the Marine pleaded guilty to most of the charges, including dereliction of duties, posing for an unofficial picture, urinating on a body of human casualty and to bring discredit upon the Armed Forces.
The judge wanted to kick him out of the Marine Corps and put him in the brig for six months, but a pre-trial agreement with prosecutors limited the sentence to Deptola being reduced to sergeant.
"You walked into this courtroom with exceptional protection," said Lt. Col. Nicole Hudspeth, the judge in the case.
A Marine Corps three star general will now have 120 days to either approve or reject that sentence.
Deptola told the judge that he was in a position to stop what was going on and did not.
Deptola says the Marines took several photos and video of the dead Taliban, including what he called "trophy photos" of them kneeling down with the bodies, the urination video of them standing, and another photo of the bodies on a tank.
A U.S. Marine faces court martial for urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan and then posing for photos with the corpses.
Court proceedings are set to start Wednesday against Staff Sgt. Edward W. Deptola, who was charged after a video surfaced showing four Marines urinating on three dead men in July 2011.
Deptola is accused of desecrating remains, posing for unofficial photographs with human casualties and failing to properly supervise lower-ranking Marines. His military lawyer wasn't identified.
Another Marine, Staff Sgt. Joseph W. Chamblin, pleaded guilty last month. Chamblin was sentenced to 30 days confinement, reduced in rank, fined and ordered to forfeit part of his pay for six months.
Three other Marines were given administrative punishments.