Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix #fundie nypost.com
A former Marine Corps drill instructor was convicted by a military jury of physically abusing young recruits — focusing his fury on three Muslim-Americans whom he referred to as “terrorists.”
The eight-man jury at Camp Lejeune, NC, determined Thursday that Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix was guilty of hazing and maltreatment of recruits at the boot camp in Parris Island, SC.
Felix was accused of being a central figure in an abusive group of drill instructors that came to light after the March 2016 suicide of one of the three Muslim-American recruits he targeted.
He had pleaded not guilty and did not testify during his trial.
The lengthy list of charges against Felix included a series of disturbing acts against more than a dozen recruits. They included ordering recruits to choke each other, ordering them to drink chocolate milk and then training them until they vomited, assaulting recruits, and forcing Muslim recruits into a clothes dryer.
“He wasn’t making Marines. He was breaking Marines,” prosecutor Lt. Col. John Norman told the jury.
Felix was a “bully” who particularly “picked out three Muslim recruits for special abuse because of their Muslim faith,” he said.
In one case, Felix ordered former trainee Lance Cpl. Ameer Bourmeche into a commercial clothes dryer, which then was turned on as Felix ordered him to renounce his Islamic faith, prosecutors said.
Bourmeche testified that he twice affirmed his creed and twice Felix and another DI sent him for a scorching tumble inside the dryer. After a third spin, Bourmeche said, he feared for his life and renounced his faith. The DIs then let him out, he said.
Felix also maltreated Raheel Siddiqui, 20, a Pakistani-American. Siddiqui committed suicide in March 2016 after Felix barked at and slapped him, prosecutors said.
In 2015 and 2016, the DI derided Siddiqui and two other Muslims as “terrorists,” Norman said. Felix also ordered Bourmeche to simulate chopping off the head of a fellow Marine while reciting “God is great” in Arabic, Norman said.
Felix was permanently removed from his duties as a DI after the probe began, said Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Joshua Pena.