A US Navy SEAL on Thursday pleaded guilty to the 2017 strangulation death of an Army Green Beret staff sergeant, according to a report.
Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator Tony DeDolph admitted that he killed Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar in Mali during a drunken attack on the Green Beret, Army Times reported.
DeDolph, the third of four military service members to plead guilty in the case, faces more than 22 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter, obstruction of justice, conspiracy and assault.
All four soldiers were accused of busting into Melgar’s room with a sledgehammer at 5 a.m. after hatching a plan to attack him during an all-night drinking binge, Army Times said.
DeDolph, a former professional mixed martial arts fighter, put Melgar in a chokehold while the other three began to secure the unsuspecting Green Beret with duct tape.
When Melgar stopped moving they tried to revive him but he died — and the four plotted how to conceal the crime and lie to investigators
The attack was hatched to punish Melgar for a perceived slight against US Marines and Navy SEALS, according to the report.
Melgar also allegedly learned that the four were soliciting prostitutes and skimming cash from a fund reserved to pay informants for anti-terrorism information.
Two of the other suspects — Chief Petty Officer Adam Matthews and Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell — pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the case and agreed to cooperate in the investigation in exchange for reduced charges.
“I cannot describe how sorry I am for the death of Staff Sgt. Melgar,” Matthews testified at a May 2019 military trial in the case. “I’ve carried the weight of Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar’s death every minute of every day since that night in Mali.”
“I am tormented by my complacency at a time when my teammates required guidance and the situation required bold, decisive action,” he said. “This was my fault and I accept total responsibility for the consequences of my poor decision.”
The fourth service member, Marine Raider Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez, is scheduled to stand trial on murder charges in February, the Army Times said.
Matthews and Maxwell both testified that the late-night raid on Melgar was plotted by DeDolph and Madera-Rodriguez, and that the plan was to shoot video of the victim performing a sexually embarassing act.
All four lied to military investigators for several weeks after the fatal attack.
Navy SEAL pleads guilty in strangulation death of Green Beret The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ New York Post.