By Jeff Schogol |
A drill instructor has been found not guilty of negligent homicide and most other charges for the June 4, 2021 death of Pfc. Dalton Beals at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, according to his attorney Colby Vokey.
Staff Sgt. Steven T. Smiley was found guilty on one specification of violation of the recruit training order for using nicknames to refer to recruits, such as “war pigs,” Vokey told Task & Purpose on Friday.
“To charge Staff Sgt. Smiley with the death of recruit Beals was ridiculous and overreaching at the greatest level, and the [jury] members saw through that and they came to the just decision on that issue,” Vokey said.
Smiley was Beals’ senior drill instructor when the 19-year-old Marine from Pennsville, New Jersey, died of overheating during the Crucible event of recruit training. Smiley was later charged with negligent homicide and other offenses in connection with Beals’ death.
A command investigation determined that Beals’ death was “likely avoidable” because Smiley had not properly supervised Beals and other recruits and also made them do extra exercises even though the temperatures at Parris Island that day reached Black Flag conditions, under which certain precautions have to be taken to protect recruits participating in the Crucible. For example, recruits must be given one-hour recovery periods; they are prohibited from sitting directly in the sun; and drill instructors must be vigilant to watch for any signs that recruits are showing signs of heat injuries.
On the day that Beals died, the temperature at Parris Island was in the 90s, and another recruit suffering from a heat injury had a core body temperature of 107.1 degrees, prompting corpsmen to put him in a polar bag to cool him down, the investigation found.
Read the full article at Task & Purpose
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