Marine sergeant to face court martial in recruit's death

AP News
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Posted: Apr 06, 2017 4:17 PM

QUANTICO, Va. (AP) — A gunnery sergeant faces a court martial in connection with the death of a recruit at a South Carolina training base, the U.S. Marine Corps said Thursday.

A statement issued by Marine Corps Base Quantico said Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix faces multiple charges in the death of 20-year-old Raheel Siddiqui at Parris Island, South Carolina. The charges include failure to obey a lawful general order and cruelty and maltreatment.

The court martial is to be held at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. No date has been announced.

Last September, the Marine Corps said Siddiqui committed suicide. But the service also said it had uncovered widespread hazing and maltreatment of recruits and young drill instructors dating back to 2015.

Siddiqui's family contends he was hazed before his death.

Marine Corps officials insisted at the time that the hazing had been found only in Siddiqui's training group, the 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, which is one of four training battalions at the site.

The Marine Corps also said it had identified up to 20 officers, drill instructors and other leaders who face administrative or potential criminal charges for taking part in the misconduct or turning a blind eye to it.

Two recruits died at Parris Island in an eight-month span in 2016, sparking renewed calls for congressional scrutiny into the service's tough training regimen.

"The loss of a second recruit raises serious questions," Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan, said in a statement issued in Michigan. "I am committed to getting to the root of this issue."

Dingell had pressed the Marine Corps for months to look into the March 18, 2016 death of Siddiqui. He was from Taylor, Michigan.