Military prosecutors have charged several Navy Seals and Marines with murder. They are accused of strangling to death a Green Beret in June 2017 last year while they were on a secret deployment in West Africa.
Two Navy SEAL Team 6 members identified as Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Tony DeDolph, 39, and Chief Petty Officer Adam Cranston Matthews along with two unidentified Marine Raiders face several charges including felony murder, involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, hazing and burglary in the June 2017 death of 34-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar in Bamako, Mali, according to ABC News.
Melgar was a Green Beret with the 3rd Special Forces Group.
The charges were approved Wednesday by Rear Adm. Charles Rock, the commander of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, following the completion of an investigation into Melgar’s death, according to the Navy. The four are scheduled to appear in court for an Article 32 preliminary hearing on Dec. 10.
DeDolph, Matthews, Melgar and the Marines were deployed to Mali on a clandestine counter-terrorism mission to support French and Malian counter-terrorism forces battling Al Qaeda’s branch in North and West Africa.
The four service members charged in the case stand accused of retrieving duct tape from a Marine quarters building before driving to the quarters shared by Navy and Army troops where they are alleged to have broken into Melgar’s bedroom while he was asleep, physically restrained him, bound him with the duct tape and strangled him to death with a choke hold on June 4, 2017.
They are also accused of conspiring to cover up Melgar’s death. The four service members are accused of performing a medical procedure on the soldier’s throat to hide evidence of his fatal injuries, according to the charging documents. They also are accused of making false statements to their commanders and, later, to military investigators from the Army and Navy.
Medical examiners determined the cause of death was homicide by asphyxiation, the four service members then said that they were playfully wrestling with Melgar and put him in the choke hold causing him to pass out.
Sources indicate that Melgar had information about illicit money the service members were making, hence the motive for the alleged murder.
Following the year long investigation the four service members were arrested this week.