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Green Beret accused of murdering Taliban bomb maker in 2010 is going to trial

Then-Army Capt. Matthew L. Golsteyn in Afghanistan in 2010. (Office of Rep. Duncan Hunter/Released)

The case against an Army major accused of premeditated murder in the 2010 killing of an unarmed Afghan national has been referred to trial by general court-martial, U.S. Army Special Command officials said Wednesday.

Maj. Mathew Golsteyn’s case was referred to trial by Lt. Gen. Francis M. Beaudette, the commanding general for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, officials said.

Golsteyn’s next court appearance has not been set and all future trial dates will be determined by the military judge, officials said Wednesday.

On Feb. 13, Golsteyn waived his rights to an Article 32 preliminary hearing that was scheduled to start March 14 to assess the evidence against him.

An Article 32 hearing is a proceeding under the United States Uniform Code of Military Justice and is similar to a preliminary hearing in civilian law. An article 32 hearing is required before a defendant can be referred to a general court-martial.

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In 2010, Golsteyn was a Green Beret captain with Fort Bragg’s 3rd Special Forces Group based at Fort Bragg and among the American forces in Marjah, Afghanistan, when he killed the Afghan national.

The Afghan national was suspected of making a bomb that killed two Marines, according to evidence presented at an administrative hearing in 2015 that the Army held to review Golsteyn’s actions and decide whether he could stay in the service.

The evidence indicated the Afghan was captured and released, and then Golsteyn killed him, buried his body, returned to the grave the next morning and burned the body.

The Army began investigating in September 2011, after Golsteyn described the killing during a job interview polygraph exam with the Central Intelligence Agency. That polygraph led to the Army’s investigation of Golsteyn actions.

In 2015, Golsteyn was stripped of his Special Forces Green Beret tab and a Silver Star medal and was kicked out of the Army because of the incident.

In December, the Army pulled Golsteyn back into the service to face the homicide charge.

In a February interview with The Washington Post, Golsteyn said that he took up an ambush position after the Afghan was released and watched to see whether the Afghan would leave the area.

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Golsteyn told The Post that if the Afghan walked toward him instead of some other direction, “it meant he was going back to insurgent activities and could be legally targeted.”

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© 2019 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.