Marine faces pre-trial hearing in Afghan urination incident

The Marine Corps launched an investigation after a video posted on YouTube showed several Marines laughing and appearing to urinate on the bodies of dead insurgents.


By JENNIFER HLAD | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 15, 2013

WASHINGTON — A Marine accused of taking photos of and urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters will face a preliminary hearing next week, the Marine Corps announced Friday.

Sgt. Robert W. Richards, a sniper, was charged in January with dereliction of duty, violation of a lawful general order and conduct prejudicial to the good order and discipline of the armed forces. Richards is accused of taking photos of himself with casualties and shooting video of himself and other Marines urinating on dead bodies — as well as the indiscriminate firing of weapons, failure to properly supervise fellow Marines and failure to report misconduct.

He will face those charges in an Article 32 hearing at Camp Lejeune, N.C., on Tuesday, according to a Marine Corps news release.

The incident happened in July 2011 in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province, Afghanistan, but came to light after a video was posted on YouTube in January 2012.

The video, along with revelations that soldiers had inadvertently burned Qurans at a detention center at Bagram Airfield, led Defense Department leaders and military commanders to place a new emphasis on ethics.

Two Marines, Sgt. Edward W. Deptola and Staff Sgt. Joseph W. Chamblin, have already pleaded guilty to several charges related to the urination incident.

Twitter: @jhlad


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