Southold marine enters guilty plea at court martial

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Staff Sgt. Edward W. Deptola at a welcome home party in October 2011.

A Marine from Southold who is accused of urinating on dead Taliban soldiers in Afghanistan on July 27, 2011, has reportedly pleaded guilty to most of the charges against him in a court-martial proceeding at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Wednesday.

Staff Sgt. Edward Deptola, a 2003 Southold High School graduate, was one of two Marines court-martialed for the incident, which was captured on video and shown on YouTube and other websites.

In December, Staff Sgt. Joseph Chamblin pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the same incident and received a sentence that reportedly included a reduction in rank to sergeant and a $500 reduction in his salary.

Both soldiers are assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and the Marine Corps referred both to trial by court-martial on Sept. 21.

The two were charged with desecrating remains, posing for unofficial photos with human casualties, being derelict in their duties by failing to properly supervise junior Marines, failing to require junior Marines to wear their personal protective equipment, failing to stop and report the misconduct of junior Marines, failing to report the negligent discharge of a grenade launcher and failing to stop the indiscriminate firing of weapons, according to the Marine Corps.

Staff Sgt. Deptola also was charged with failing to stop the unnecessary damaging of Afghan compounds and wrongfully and indiscriminately firing a recovered enemy machine gun.

The sentencing portion of the trial had not concluded at presstime Wednesday afternoon. Staff Sgt. Deptola reportedly could face up to a year in jail, a demotion in rank and loss of pay.

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