On Monday a judge in Hawaii sentenced a Marine to 30-days in jail and have his rank reduced to private first class for punching and kicking a fellow Marine who killed himself shortly afterward. The judge ruled she found no evidence the abuse led to the Lance Cpl. Harry Lew’s suicide.
Lew committed suicide shortly after the Jacoby punched and kicked him on April 3, 2011.
Lance Cpl. Jacob Jacoby, 21, who pleaded guilty to assault, acknowledged he punched and kicked Lew out of anger and frustration that the fellow Marine repeatedly fell asleep while on watch for Taliban fighters, the Associated Press reports. He’s also one of the three Marines accused of regularly hazing Lew by punching, kicking and forcing him to do pushups.
Navy Lt. John Battisi, Jacoby’s attorney, successfully argued that Jacoby lost his temper and struck Lew, but that he made sure to hit Lew on his body armor where he was best protected.
“If this is how you’re going to approach and motivate your peers, then you do not need to be a part of the service,” Schweig said in closing remarks at the sentencing hearing,” said Navy Capt. Carrie Stephens, the judge in Jacoby’s special court-martial.
Schweig went on to say the government was confident Jacoby is capable of rehabilitating himself.
Lew’s Chinese immigrant parents told the LA Times last year that they tried to prevent their son from joining the Navy but he insisted he wanted to serve his country.
“My son died — I have only one son,” Lew told the AP on Monday. He went on to say he doesn’t understand how Marines could do the things they did to their own.
In a similar incident last October, U.S. Army Private Danny Chen was found dead in a guard tower in Afghanistan with”an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.” Reports found Chen suffered from violent hazing and racist bullying that may have led to his to suicide.