CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — A Marine Corps sniper from Florida and others in his unit captured on a YouTube video urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan also were recorded shooting and tossing grenades in a rural hamlet without taking any return fire, according to testimony during a military criminal hearing Tuesday.
Sgt. Robert W. Richards, 27, of Florida is charged with multiple counts of dereliction of duty, violating orders and conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline. The charges outlined at Tuesday's Article 32 hearing will determine if there's evidence to proceed to a court-martial. Prosecutors allege that besides taking improper photos and video images, Richards failed to properly supervise fellow Marines who indiscriminately fired their weapons.
Richards and three other Marines were videotaped relieving themselves on the corpses during a July 2011 mission in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province, in the south of the country.
Military prosecutors said urinating on the corpses and videotaping it amounted to desecrating their bodies, a claim Richard's civilian lawyer denied.
Five Marines have pleaded guilty in the case, and another faces charges.