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, NC, determined Thursday that Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix was guilty of hazing and maltreatment of recruits at the Marine Corps' Parris Island, SC, boot camp, the AP reports. The jury of five sergeants and three officers decided Felix punched, kicked, and choked military hopefuls. 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 three Muslim-American recruits Felix targeted. The charges against Felix included a series of disturbing acts against more than a dozen recruits. They included commanding recruits to choke each other, punching recruits in the face or kicking them to the ground, and twice pressuring Muslim recruits into an industrial clothes dryer, which was then turned on. "He wasn't making Marines. He was breaking Marines," prosecutor Lt. Col. John Norman told jurors, describing Felix as a "bully."