The court ruled in July that actions leading up to Siddiqui’s death are fair game during Felix’s trial, and prosecutors brought up the incident early in their opening statement Tuesday. They did not suggest Felix was directly responsible for Siddiqui’s apparent suicide, but they argued that his alleged treatment of the recruit was criminal and discriminatory.
“Recruit Raheel Siddiqui is deceased,” said Lt. Col. Michael Libretto, the judge, in his opening remarks to the member panel, a jury of eight Marines of equal or superior military rank to Felix. “As a result of his death, Raheel Siddiqui will not be a witness in this proceeding.”
Eldridge was responsible for the cruelest treatment, Felix’s lawyer, Lt. Cdr. Daniel Bridges, said.
“Eldridge did most of it,” Bridges said. “He put [Bourmeche] in [the dryer] and turned it on.”
Bridges also argued that Bourmeche gave conflicting statements to law enforcement months after the incident, and that the absence of skin burns show he exaggerated how long he was in the dryer when it was turned on.
Felix’s supervisor also was court-martialed for failing to remove Felix, then a senior drill instructor, from his role supervising recruits despite credible reports of past inappropriate or violent conduct.
Lt. Col. Joshua Kissoon, the former commander of Parris Island’s 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, is charged with making false statements, failing to heed an order, and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. He will face court-martial at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, but no trial date has been set.
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