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thedrifter
09-12-07, 03:17 PM
DI found guilty of violating training regs
By Gidget Fuentes - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Sep 12, 2007 13:58:24 EDT

SAN DIEGO — A military jury on Tuesday convicted a drill instructor of violating recruit training regulations when he threw a set of keys at a recruit, injuring the young man’s eye.

But the four-member jury found Sgt. Mark A. Delarosa not guilty of 12 other counts, including five counts of assault and cruelty and maltreatment involving two other recruits, at a special court-martial at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

The case went into the sentencing phase Wednesday. The jury, comprised of a captain, first lieutenant and two staff sergeants, could award no additional punishment or give Delarosa up to one year’s confinement and a bad-conduct discharge for the guilty verdict, which is considered a federal conviction.

Delarosa, 25, assigned to 1st Recruit Training Battalion, was charged in May with mishandling recruits during training earlier this year.

Prosecutors argued that Delarosa trained with a “pain retains” mantra, violating recruit training regulations. Delarosa “used this phrase — ‘pain retains’ — when he was correcting the mistakes of his recruits,” said Capt. Brent Stricker, the lead prosecutor.

Along with the key-throwing charge, Delarosa was accused of kicking one recruit’s lower leg and ordering him to perform excessive training on the injured limb, as well as hitting another recruit in the chest — allegedly telling him, “I wish I could hit you all the time,” Stricker told the court.

But defense attorneys decried the lack and quality of evidence against the sergeant.

Delarosa, they said, was frustrated but accidentally injured the recruit, now a private first class, when he “tossed” a set of keys to the young man, who had mistakenly locked a storage locker. “It was not an intentional assault,” Capt. Patrick Callahan argued during closing arguments.

The victim, Pfc. Phillip Barajas, testified he “didn’t want Sgt. Delarosa to get into trouble” and told medical personnel that his eye was injured by a cough drop, though he did not explain how.

Ellie