A solo Navy SEAL will take responsibility for the 2017 death of a U.S. Green Beret in Mali and cooperate with the prosecution.
The lawyer for Chief Special Warfare Officer Adam Matthews told Task & Purpose that Matthews will be headed to a special court-martial after taking “full responsibility for his role” in the death of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar.
Matthews was charged with hazing, assault consummated by battery, burglary and conspiracy to obstruct justice. At a hearing on Thursday, Matthews intends to plead guilty to those charges.
“On Thursday, SOC Adam Matthews will take full responsibility for his role in the tragic death of Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar,” said his attorney Grover Baxley.
In exchange for his guilty plea and cooperation with prosecutors, they intend to withdraw the murder and involuntary manslaughter charges.
Court Martial hearing set for Navy SEAL charged in connection with Green Beret’s death https://t.co/EUumvYkQHN
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As a result of the special court-martial agreement, Matthews may only receive a maximum penalty of one year in prison, rank reduction to E-1, losing two-thirds of pay for a year, and a bad conduct discharge.
“He looks forward to detailing what happened that night in Mali almost two years ago, and hopes that his explanation of events will assist the Melgar family in finding some semblance of closure,” Baxley said of Matthews.
“Staff Sgt. Melgar’s death was an unforeseen accident that has dramatically impacted the lives of everyone involved. SOC Matthews is eager to assist with the Navy’s resolution of this case and then attempting to move on with his life,” Baxley added.
Matthews is one of two Navy SEALs that were charged, in addition to two Marine Raiders, who allegedly broke into Melgar’s room, awoke him from his sleep to restrain with him duct tape before holding him in a chokehold and strangling him.
A Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) investigation probed the death for more than a year, concluding in November 2018.
Melgar was found dead in shared Embassy housing on June 4, 2017. An autopsy revealed that he died by strangulation, a cause of death that was ruled a homicide.
Matthews and the other SEAL were members of the elite SEAL Team 6. They initially reported that they found Melgar “unresponsive” in their shared room, but later changed the story to say the three were wrestling.
They alleged to investigators that Melgar stopped breathing during horseplay, they performed CPR and attempted to open an airway in Melgar’s throat, but could not get him to breathe again.
Investigators later found that the two SEALs were stealing money intended for informants, a crime that Melgar may have learned of. Two sources alleged that the SEALs offered to let Melgar join in on the scheme, but he refused.
Melgar, a Texas native, had served in Army for five years prior to his death. He had deployed to Afghanistan twice, and was a member of the 3rd Special Forces Group from Fort Bragg, N.C., since 2013.