Lejeune Marine sentenced for desecration of Taliban bodies

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - A U.S. Marine was sentenced for urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, and then posing for photos with the corpses.

Staff Sgt. Edward W. Deptola was sentenced Wednesday afternoon to a reduction in rank by one grade to E-5.

The judge had wanted to reduce Deptola's rank to E-1, confine him for six months, have him pay a $5,000 fine and get him a bad conduct discharge. But because of a pretrial agreement, those punishments were tossed.

Deptola was one of several Camp Lejeune Marines who urinated on the bodies of insurgents in late July, 2011, investigators said.

During Wednesday's hearing, Deptola testified that he and his fellow Marines were being chased by Taliban fighters. Deptola said after the shootout with the enemy, he took a gun off of a dead insurgent, then shot it.

Depota also testified that he and his fellow Marines later brought the dead bodies together and took pictures, before urinating on the corpses and recording the incident on camera. About 30 minutes later, they moved the bodies to the top of a tank and snapped more photos.

According to investigators, there were 12 videos and eight pictures in all.
Deptola pleaded guilty Wednesday to two main charges, each of which included sub-charges. The first main charge consisted of failing to properly supervise younger Marines, posing for unofficial photos with casualties on the ground and wrongfully posing with the corpses on top of a tank.

The second main charge included wrongfully urinating on a body, wrongfully firing an enemy firearm PKM machine gun and not folllowing through on upholding his duties.

Deptola pleaded guilty to the charges Wednesday under a plea agreement reached with military prosecutors.

Lt. General Richard Mills, the commander of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, would have up to 120 days to amend Wednesday's sentence.

In December, another Camp Lejeune Marine, Sergeant Joseph Chamblin, also faced court-martial for the desecration incident. He was sentenced to a reduction in rank by one grade and a forfeiture of $500 in pay.

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