LAWYER: Urinating On Bodies Was Not Desecration

CAMP LEJEUNE (AP) -- A lawyer for a Marine facing criminal charges for a YouTube video showing platoon members urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan says it was in poor taste, but not desecration.

Sgt. Robert W. Richards is facing an Article 32 hearing Tuesday. The hearing will determine if there's evidence to proceed to a court-martial.

Richards faces several charges, including dereliction of duty and violating orders. Military prosecutors said he filmed himself and others urinating on the corpses.

Civilian defense lawyer Guy Womack says Richards and the rest of the nearly 20-member detachment were letting off steam and didn't desecrate the bodies by urinating on them because the bodies weren't mutilated.

Two other Marines have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced in the case.


Camp Lejeune officials said a Sergeant has his Article 32 hearing on Tuesday for charges stemming from a video that went viral of Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters.

Military officials said Sergeant Robert Richards was charged January 29th, 2013 for dereliction of duty, violation of a lawful general order, and conduct prejudicial to the good order and discipline of the armed forces.

The military said the video was likely taken in July of 2011 in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan.

Officials said the video not only documented the improper conduct with human casualties, but also indiscriminate firing of weapons and a failure to properly supervise fellow Marines.

In a statement from Camp Lejeune, officials said, "The Article 32 hearing will be held in order to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into facts and circumstances in the case, and will result in a recommendation to LtGen Mills for his decision about what further action to take, if any."

Two other Marines have already entered guilty pleas in the case and received minimal sentences.

In January, Staff Sgt. Edward Deptola was demoted by one rank as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.

Captain James Clement was also charged in February, accused of failing to properly supervise junior Marines and other charges. Clement is currently at Quantico.