CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — A Marine who pleaded guilty Wednesday to urinating on a dead Taliban fighter in Afghanistan will probably be demoted one rank under a plea agreement, although a military judge called for a much harsher sentence.
Staff Sergeant Edward W. Deptola pleaded guilty to multiple charges at court-martial, including dereliction of duty for desecrating remains, posing for photographs with corpses, and failing to properly supervise junior Marines.
The judge, Lieutenant Colonel Nicole Hudspeth, would have sentenced him to six months confinement, a $5,000 fine, demotion to private, and a bad-conduct discharge. But she is bound by terms of the plea agreement the sergeant reached with military prosecutors. A general could reduce the sentence.
Deptola and another Marine were charged last year after video showed four Marines urinating on three dead Afghans in July 2011. In the video, one Marine looked down and quipped, “Have a good day, buddy.”
Deptola, a Southold, N.Y., native, is married with two children, but officials declined to give his age.
Other Marines received lower sentences. Staff Sergeant Joseph W. Chamblin pleaded guilty to similar charges last month. He lost $500 in pay and was reduced in rank to sergeant. Three other Marines were given administrative punishments.