Marine drill instructor Joseph Felix sentenced to 10 years for abusing recruits

Marines participate in a night-fire training exercise at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in this file photo from 2013. Scott Olson / Getty Images

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A Marine Corps drill instructor has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for abusing young recruits, especially Muslims, one of whom killed himself.

The eight-man jury at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, on Friday also sentenced Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix to forfeiture of all pay, reduction of his rank to private and a dishonorable discharge.

The military jury convicted the 34-year-old Iraq veteran Thursday of maltreatment of recruits at the Marine Corps' Parris Island, South Carolina, boot camp.

The jury of five sergeants and three officers determined that Felix punched, kicked and choked recruits, zeroing in on three Muslim military volunteers he insulted as "terrorist" for special mistreatment.

"He wasn't making Marines. He was breaking Marines," prosecutor Lt. Col. John Norman told jurors Wednesday. Felix was a "bully" who particularly "picked out three Muslim recruits for special abuse because of their Muslim faith."

Felix was one of six drill instructors at Parris Island charged with abuse after the March 2016 suicide of one of those three Muslim recruits.

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