Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix was sentenced on Friday to a 10 years in prison for abusing more than a dozen Marine Corps recruits at the Corps’ Recruit Depot Parris Island .
Felix was sentenced for choking, punching and otherwise tormenting at least 12 recruits, including three Muslims – one of whom ultimately committed suicide, according to the Associated Press.
Felix, 34, had been charged with for cruelty and maltreatment, drunk and disorderly conduct, failure to obey a lawful general order and obstruction of justice.
The Marine Corps drill instructor was also ordered for forfeit pay and he was demoted to a private. Felix also received a dishonorable discharge from the military.
The AP reported: “Among other things, [Felix] taunted the Muslims as ‘terrorists’ or ‘ISIS’ and ordered two of them to climb into a clothes dryer, spinning one of them around until he renounced his faith, the jury decided.”
Raheel Siddiqui was a Muslim recruit from Taylor, Michigan, who, according to Marine Corps reports, committed suicide by jumping off the third floor of his barracks during basic training.
He had left college to pursue his dream of becoming a United States Marine and was at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island less than two weeks before he died.
Widespread investigations into the incident showed that the recruit was heavily berated and assaulted by the drill instructors charged with training and protecting the recruits. The charges also include Felix slapping Siddiqui shortly before he fell to his death.
The AP also reported:
Felix was a central figure in what was found to be a group of abusive drill instructors at Parris Island. After the March 2016 suicide of one of the Muslims, a hazing investigation led to charges against Felix, five other drill instructors and the training battalion’s commanding officer. Eleven others faced lesser discipline.
The charges against Felix included commanding recruits to choke each other; ordering them to drink chocolate milk and then training them until they vomited; and punching recruits in the face or kicking them to the ground.