The Latest: Jury takes Marine drill instructor abuse case

The Latest on the court martial of a Marine Corps drill instructor on charges including cruelty and maltreatment of recruits(all times local):

9:45 a.m.

A military jury is deliberating whether a Marine Corps drill instructor is guilty of beating, stomping and choking new recruits.

The eight-man jury at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, began discussions Thursday into whether Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix abused young Marine hopefuls and zeroed in on Muslim-Americans because of their heritage and religion. The 34-year-old Iraq veteran was charged after the Marines investigated why one of his Muslim trainees at the Parris Island, South Carolina, boot camp committed suicide last year.

Investigators found unchecked abuse of recruits by junior drill instructors at the training depot. Felix and five other drill instructors and the training battalion's commanding officer were charged. Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Joshua Pena said 11 others faced lesser, administrative discipline.

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2:50 a.m.

A military jury begins deliberating whether a Marine Corps drill instructor accused of beating new recruits and targeting Muslim-Americans did his job despite accounts of aggression against young troops.

The eight-man jury at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, starts deliberating Thursday whether Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Felix is guilty of maltreating three Muslim recruits. A Pakistani-American recruit from Michigan committed suicide at the Parris Island, South Carolina, boot camp last year after Felix barked at and slapped him.

Felix also is accused of obstruction of justice for telling recruits not to cooperate with investigators after the suicide. He's also charged with drunk and disorderly conduct, and making false official statements. He has pleaded not guilty.

Felix faces the possibility of time in a military prison, financial penalties and a dishonorable discharge.