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Marines pleads guilty in urination case

Thursday - 12/20/2012, 6:48pm  ET

By ROBERT BURNS
AP National Security Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Marine general who decided to court-martial a Marine for urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters and posing for pictures with them in Afghanistan will scale back the punishment announced Thursday by a military judge.

A Marine spokesman, Col. Sean Gibson, said Lt. Gen. Richard Mills had agreed before the court-martial was held Wednesday that the maximum sentence he would approve in the case of Staff Sgt. Joseph W. Chamblin is the forfeiture of $500 in pay for one month and reduction in rank to sergeant.

The judge, who was not aware of the pre-trial agreement, announced a harsher sentence: 30 days confinement, 60 days restriction, forfeiture of $500 per month in pay for six months, a fine of $2,000 and a reduction in rank to lance corporal, which is two pay grades below sergeant.

Gibson said Mills will limit the punishments to those he set before the trial. Mills is the head of Marine Corps Combat Development Command.

The Marine Corps said Chamblin pleaded guilty before the military judge at Camp Lejeune, N.C. He admitted to wrongful desecration, failure to properly supervise junior Marines and posing for photos with battlefield casualties.

Chamblin is assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment at Camp Lejeune.

The matter came to light with the disclosure in January of a video showing four Marines urinating on the bodies of three dead men in July 2011. A criminal investigation ensued. In September 2012 the Marines announced that Chamblin and Staff Sgt. Edward W. Deptola would be court-martialed. Deptola's case is pending.


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