Conflict & Justice

Second US Marine pleads guilty to urinating on Taliban corpses


An elderly Afghan walks past US Marines from Kilo Company of the 3rd Battalion 8th Marines Regiment while they conduct a patrol in Garmser, Helmand Province on June 29, 2012.



US Marine staff sergeant Edward Deptola has pleaded guilty to urinating on the corpses of three Taliban fighters in Afghanistan in a court-martial at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

A video of Deptola's act, during an operation in Helmand province in July 2011, was posted to YouTube.

One of the Marines is heard saying to the corpses, "Have a good day, buddy," the Associated Press reported.

In January, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta came out strongly against the video, calling it "utterly deplorable," according to the AP.

Reuters cited him as saying:

"I have seen the footage, and I find the behavior depicted in it utterly deplorable. Those found to have engaged in such conduct will be held accountable to the fullest extent."

Deptola, reportedly a decorated veteran, also pleaded guilty to a number of other charges, including posing for unofficial photographs with human casualties, failing to supervise subordinates and not reporting misconduct.

Marine Staff Sgt. Joseph Chamblin, charged with the same offenses in September, has already pled guilty.

Stars and Stripes reported that a judge sentenced Chamblin to 30 days in the brig, 60 days' restriction, forfeiture of $500 of salary for six months, a $2,000 fine and a reduction in rank to lance corporal.

But because of a pretrial agreement with the commanding general of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Chamblin could only be sentenced to a maximum of a $500 pay forfeiture for one month and reduction one rank, to sergeant.