RALEIGH, N.C. — A Marine Corps drill instructor was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison for choking, punching, or otherwise tormenting recruits, especially three Muslims — one of whom ultimately killed himself by leaping down a stairwell.
A military jury handed out the punishment to Gunnery Sergeant Joseph Felix a day after convicting him of abusing more than a dozen trainees at the Marine boot camp at Parris Island, S.C.
Among other things, he taunted the Muslims 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, the jury decided.
Felix, a 34-year-old Iraq veteran, was also ordered to forfeit all pay, demoted to private, and given a dishonorable discharge.
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 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.
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.