Jon Michael Turner’s tattoos cover his arms almost entirely. They peeked out under the rolled up sleeves of his crisp blue shirt, on which were the medals and ribbons he earned as an automatic machine gunner with the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines in Anbar Province in 2006. One of them is more like a scar. On his right wrist is the black Arabic lettering for FUCK YOU. It’s on what he called his choking hand, and it was what he looked at to let the anger wash over him when he choked Iraqis.
On April 18, 2006 he had his first confirmed kill. “I don’t know his name. I call him the Fat Man,” he said. He’s innocent. The Fat Man walked to his house and Turner shot him in front of his friend and his father. “Afterward he started screaming and he looked into my eyes,” Turner testified at Winter Soldier. Turner, a handsome young man with a blond beard, turned to his friend and said, “I can’t let that happen.” So he shot and killed him. At the conference center in Silver Spring nearly two years later, six giant screens displayed a photograph of the Fat Man with much of his skull missing and his brain exposed. “My company commander personally congratulated me,” Turner continued. “That same individual said, ‘Whoever gets his first kill by stabbing them to death will get a four day pass when we get back from Iraq.”
Turner reminded the audience of the Marine credo: Once A Marine, Always A Marine. But he invoked another expression. “Eat the apple at its core.” With that, Turner stripped his medals and ribbons off his chest and threw them into the audience. “I don’t work for you no more.”
He showed videos of a Marine bragging “I think I just killed half the population of northern Ramadi.” He showed numerous photographs of dead and mutilated Iraqi corpses. He showed a photograph of half of a face propped up on a kevlar helmet. And he showed a video of unseen Marines firing — he said unprovoked — extensively on a minaret in Anbar Province, which is illegal if unprovoked.
Fighting back tears, he showed images of memorials to five of Kilo Company’s fallen Marines. “With that being said, that is my testimony,” Turner said. “I wanted to say I am sorry for the hate and destruction I have inflicted on innocent people and others have inflicted on innocent people. At one point it was ok, but the reality is, it is not. … I am sorry for the things I did. I am no longer the monster that I once was.”
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