The lead investigator in an Army Green Beret’s murder case has been charged with stolen valor, and the defense is now calling for charges to be dropped and the case to be dismissed.
Sgt. 1st Class Mark Delacruz, an Army Criminal Investigation Command special agent who led the investigation sparked by murder allegations against Army Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, was recently charged with stolen valor, Army Times reported Thursday. Some say this may have a significant impact on the case, and Golsteyn’s attorneys want the charges to be dropped.
— Military Times (@MilitaryTimes) February 14, 2019
Delacruz allegedly falsified documents to show that he’d earned awards he actually never received, and even went so far as to wear the awards, including the Purple Heart, Air Assault Badge, Pathfinder Badge and Combat Action Badge.
Golsteyn’s attorney, Phil Stackhouse, wrote a memo to the Army Criminal Investigation Command saying Delacruz “held himself out as a Special Forces soldier, infantryman, sniper, and bragged about killing people in combat,” NBC News reported.
“Ironically, he’s bragged about losing his Special Forces Tab for an alleged bad shoot in combat,” Stackhouse added.
Golsteyn and his attorneys filed a request last month in which they asked for the case to be dismissed.
The request was supported by allegations that evidence had been manipulated against Golsteyn and investigators had committed “questionable conduct.”
Army Criminal Investigation Command spokesman Jeffrey Castro told Army Times that Delacruz “has been suspended from duty since the allegations came to light in late 2018.”
Delacruz was in charge of interviewing key witnesses related to the murder charge against Golsteyn, and was thought to be a key witness for the prosecution.
“It is incredibly damaging to the case,” said attorney Colby Vokey, former Marine Corps Judge Advocate General (JAG). “That goes to the core of the integrity of CID. To me, it calls into question all of this new evidence they’ve brought against Matt Golsteyn.”
A Green Beret accused of murdering an unarmed Afghan man wants charges dropped because an investigator assigned to his case faces his own charges of “stolen valor” – meaning he allegedly claimed medals and other honors he didn’t earn. https://t.co/JvQ6xOlVwj
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 14, 2019
Golsteyn was scheduled to face a preliminary Article 32 hearing on March 14 to determine if enough evidence existed to proceed to court-martial. However, he has waived his right to an Article 32, instead requesting that the government escalates the trial.
Golsteyn is accused of murdering a Taliban bomb maker in 2010.
During a recorded job interview with the CIA in 2010, Golsteyn first admitted that he’d killed a Taliban bomb maker who was responsible for the bombs that killed two other U.S. service members, and proved to be “a demonstrated threat to my guys,” Golsteyn had told investigators.
He said he believed he was obeying the rules of engagement for killing the militant due to the bomb components surrounding the man, which made him an “armed combatant.”
After a subsequent investigation, he was cleared of wrongdoing when the Army determined there was insufficient evidence to charge him, and subsequently closed the investigation.
The case remained closed until Golsteyn’s October 2016 appearance on Fox News with Brett Baer, during which he admitted killing the bomb maker after he identified the militant as the person responsible for the bomb making and U.S. service member deaths.
Now that a second investigation is underway, he faces a premeditated murder charge with potential sentences of life in prison or the death penalty. Golsteyn, his wife and legal team have spoken out about the Army’s wrongful allegations and reopening a case that was closed despite fabricating Golsteyn’s CIA admission.
“I spent half of this hell quiet, and if there is anything I know, it’s that I will not get any semblance of due process — any ability to defend myself — if it’s not in public,” he said. “Because it’s the only thing these guys respond to. They do not obey their own rules.”