Marine Instructor Gets 10 Years for Tormenting Recruits

Joseph Felix will get a dishonorable discharge
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 11, 2017 7:12 AM CST
Marine Instructor Gets 10 Years for Tormenting Recruits
In this Oct., 31, 2017 file photo,US Marine Gunnery Sgt. Joseph A. Felix, his wife, and his lawyers exit a courtroom after testimony at Camp Lejeune, NC.   (Rory Laverty /The Washington Post/via AP, File)

A Marine Corps drill instructor has been sentenced to 10 years behind bars after being convicted of tormenting and abusing young recruits, especially Muslim-Americans, including one who later killed himself. A military jury also ordered Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix, a 34-year-old Iraq veteran, to forfeit all pay, be demoted to private, and given a dishonorable discharge. Friday's sentencing at Camp Lejeune, NC, came after Felix begged for forgiveness before the eight-member jury, which a day earlier convicted him of abusing more than a dozen trainees at the Marine boot camp at Parris Island, SC, the AP reports.

Felix was convicted of dozens of criminal violations as the jury on Thursday found he taunted three Muslim recruits as "terrorists" or "ISIS" and ordered two of them to climb into an industrial clothes dryer, spinning one of them around in the scorching machine until he renounced his faith. Defense attorney Navy Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Bridges declined a request to comment on the conviction and sentencing. Felix was a central figure among a group of abusive drill instructors at Parris Island, the jury was told. After the March 2016 suicide at the base, a hazing investigation led to charges against Felix, five other drill instructors, and the training battalion's commanding officer. Eleven others faced lesser discipline.

(More Marine Corps stories.)

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