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Convicted DI was "drunk on power, & sometimes Fireball whiskey". . .

Posted By: LongGone
Date: Friday - November 10,2017 08:06

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — (MS-NBC) A military jury on Thursday convicted a former Marine drill instructor accused of subjecting Muslim recruits to verbal and physical abuse.

After a seven-day trial and 12 hours of deliberation, the eight-member jury found Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix, 34, guilty of maltreatment in connection with allegations he targeted three Muslim men at the Marines’ storied boot camp in Parris Island, S.C.

One of those recruits, Raheel Siddiqui, died when he fell 40 feet onto a concrete stairwell. Prosecutors said Felix forced Siddiqui to run back and forth in the recruits’ squad bay and slapped him in the face just before he sprinted from the room and jumped to his death. Two other Muslim recruits accused him of putting them in an industrial clothes dryer and, in one instance, turning it on.

In all, Felix was convicted of three counts of maltreatment, eight of nine counts of violating general orders, drunk and disorderly conduct, and making false statements. He was acquitted of obstruction of justice.

Sentencing is scheduled for Friday. If Felix receives more than a year in prison or is given an other-than-honorable discharge from the military, his conviction will be automatically appealed.

The jury’s verdict marks the culmination of two years of investigations and courts-martial centered on recruit abuse at Parris Island dating to 2015.

Felix, said Lt. Col. John Norman, the prosecutor, “picked out Muslim recruits for special abuse because of their Muslim faith. He degraded their religion and put them in industrial appliances.”

Felix is a married father of four. He has served in the Marines since 2002.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service has investigated 20 Marine drill instructors, officers and staff members amid allegations of hazing, assault and discriminating against Muslim recruits dating to 2015. Thirteen Marines already have faced some form of discipline. Two others await their fate: Felix’s fellow drill instructor Sgt. Michael Eldridge and their former supervisor, Lt. Col. Joshua Kissoon.

Felix was “drunk on power, and sometimes Fireball whiskey,” Norman told the jury during his closing statements. “He wasn’t making Marines — he was breaking Marines.”

The first two Muslim recruits targeted by Felix were Ameer Bourmeche and ­Rekan Hawez. Both testified during his court-martial that Felix and Eldridge put them into an industrial clothes dryer.

Numerous witnesses told the court they heard Felix call the Muslim recruits “terrorist” and “ISIS,” another name for the Islamic State. A recruit from Siddiqui’s platoon, Lance Cpl. Shane McDevitt, told the court that Felix called Siddiqui a terrorist at least 10 times.


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