SAN DIEGO (AP) – A military jury on Thursday sentenced a Marine drill instructor to six months in the brig and gave him a bad-conduct discharge for abusing 23 recruits.

Sgt. Jerrod M. Glass also received a reduction in rank to private and pay forfeiture. He had faced a maximum sentence of 10 years of confinement.

Former colleagues lined up to hug Glass and shake his hand after the verdict was read. Glass, 25, hugged his parents.

His mother broke down in tears in the courtroom filled to capacity, mainly with Glass’ supporters, including some of the recruits he was accused of abusing.

Earlier, prosecutors recommended he spend two years in the brig and receive a bad-conduct discharge.

“You need to send the message this is not tolerated,” Marine Capt. Brent Sticker told jurors.

The instructor’s attorney had asked jurors to take into account Glass’s previous exemplary record and sentence him to 60 days of restricted duty and reduction to a rank of their choice.

“There’s ways to deal with Sgt. Glass without throwing him out,” Capt. Greg Jensen said.

“This wasn’t meaningless, senseless violence,” Jensen said of the alleged abuse. “It was done with the intent to assist (recruits).”

On Wednesday, Glass was found guilty of eight counts of cruelty and maltreatment, destruction of personal property, assault and violating orders on how to properly treat recruits. The jury deliberated two hours before handing down the sentence Thursday.

Glass was accused of ordering one recruit to jump headfirst into a trash can and then pushing him farther into the container. He is also accused of striking recruits with a tent pole and a heavy flashlight. None of the recruits was seriously injured.

During the courts-martial, witnesses testified Glass routinely stomped on recruits’ toiletry kits, breaking razors and soap containers inside, for minor infractions like not displaying name tags properly. They also said Glass and another drill instructor would also line recruits up after meals and force them to down liters of water from their canteens.

Glass had worked as a drill instructor at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego for less than a year when the mistreatment occurred. He was relieved of drill instructor duty in February.

Glass’ mother, Barbara Glass, said, “I still believe he did not do anything he was not instructed to do … by his superiors. If it’s denied, I know it’s a bald-faced lie by the Marine Corps.”

Glass’ father, Jerry Glass, tearfully criticized the Marines’ handling of the case.

“I thought the Marine Corps stood for, ‘Leave no man behind,”‘ he told reporters. “I think they had their head in the sand or they are not being honest with the public.”

Prior to the courts-martial, Glass had been an exemplary Marine, according to both the defense and prosecution.

Pfc. Bradley Montgomery, 20, who was one of the recruits in Glass’ platoon, said the sentence was too harsh. Montgomery testified on behalf of the prosecution under orders.

“This whole thing is ridiculous,” he said. “Sgt. Glass thought of us as his own kids.”

Glass was one of three drill instructors charged with abusing recruits. Sgt. Robert C. Hankins and Sgt. Brian M. Wendel are facing special courts-martial on separate charges. A fourth instructor, Sgt. Joseph Villagomez, received administrative punishment.

About 17,000 recruits graduate each year from the depot. It is one of two Marine training depots nationwide; the other is in Parris Island, S.C.

AP-ES-11-15-07 1732EST

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.