NORFOLK, Va. — A Navy SEAL pleaded guilty on Thursday to restraining an Army Green Beret with duct tape before he died in a June 2017 struggle with other commandos who were deployed on a secret mission in Bamako, Mali.
Chief Petty Officer Adam C. Matthews told a military court that he had agreed to help “remediate” Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar as punishment for leaving behind the other commandos instead of leading them to a social gathering, as he had promised.
Chief Matthews testified that the other SEAL, Special Operations Chief Tony DeDolph, had put Sergeant Melgar in a chokehold during the struggle. The decision to confront Sergeant Melgar was made among the other commandos as they were drinking, Chief Matthews said.
A military medical examiner has ruled that Sergeant Melgar’s death was a “a homicide by asphyxiation,” or strangulation.
Chief Matthews, in exchange for a lighter sentence, agreed to cooperate in future proceedings involving Chief DeDolph and two Marines, Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez and Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell Jr.
Chief Matthews testified that he had arrived in Mali only two days before the confrontation. On Thursday, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy of assault, committing battery, breaking into Sergeant Melgar’s quarters, hazing and obstructing justice.
Other charges, including felony murder and involuntary manslaughter, were dismissed following the pretrial agreement.
Ten witnesses — five for the government and five for the defense — were scheduled to give testimony in a sentencing hearing for Chief Matthews later Thursday in the proceedings before Judge Capt. Michael J. Luken.