Marine Sentenced in Harry Lew Hazing Case

Jacob Jacoby escapes most serious charges

Santa Clara High School graduate and new US Marine Harry Lew had his back turned when his fellow marine punched him in the back of the head so hard his attacker cut his knuckles. 

Less than an hour later Lew would be dead.

It wasn't the punch that killed Lew - Lew committed suicide with his own heavy machine gun.  But the punch would land fellow marine Jacob Jacoby in jail, accused of hazing.

Jacoby's legal odyssey ended Monday in Hawaii when he took a plea deal to lesser charges of assault and was sentenced to 30 days in the brig and a demotion to private.

Two other marines, Benjamin Johns and Carlos Orozco, still face full prosecution and could spend years at hard labor according to military prosecutors.

The Marines were reportedly angry Lew constantly fell asleep during guard duty, itself a very serious crime in the military.  

The Marine Corps says Lew's superiors took him off patrol to allow the 21 year old to get more rest, but Lew continued to fall asleep at least four separate times in areas where "enemy attack was considered imminent."

An investigation into Lew's suicide in Afghanistan found the three marines brutalized Lew by demanding Lew perform various physical tasks and would "stomp down" on Lew's back and legs if he failed to do an exercise properly.  "Towards the end of the physical training", the criminal report says a "sandbag broke open at which point lance corporal [redacted] picked it up and poured  the contents on Lew's chest and face as he lay with his back to the ground." Jacoby then attacked Lew from behind.

Before taking his own life, Lew wrote on his arm "may hate me now, but in the long run this was the right choice I'm sorry my mom deserves the truth."

Before sentencing, Jacoby said he was sorry and that he wanted to take responsibility for his actions.

"I allowed my emotions and frustrations to get the best of me, and acted out against a fellow Marine," Jacoby said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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