A hearing for a marine charged with desecrating human casualties in Afghanistan was held yesterday at Camp Lejeune. Sgt. Richard Roberts is accused of filming footage of four marines urinating on deceased Taliban fighters in 2011. WHQR’s Sara Wood reports while the video shocked viewers when it appeared on YouTube in 2012, Roberts’ attorney says the marine’s act was a coping mechanism.
Two other marines have already received courts-martial for their involvement, including Sgt. Edward Deptola, who testified during Roberts’ hearing. Deptola received a demotion in rank after pleading guilty in January. When the prosecution asked Deptola why the marines urinated on the bodies, he said “Because killing them wasn’t enough.” Lt. Col. Christopher Dixon also testified. He was the commanding officer of the 2nd marines at the time of the incident. He spoke about his focus of instilling ethics in his marines. At the time of the video, Sgt. Roberts’ team was performing a mission in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan, known to be a dangerous stronghold of Taliban cells. The investigating officer presiding over the hearing is not expected to make his recommendation for at least another week. The recommendation will be sent up the chain of command to a superior officer who decides whether Roberts’ will be given a court-martial or if the matter will be dealt with non-judicially, meaning internally in the Marine Corps.