A Marine Raider plans to enter a guilty plea for negligent homicide charges relating to the 2017 death of a Green Beret in Mali.
Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell, one of four service members charged in connection to the death of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, reached an agreement in which he will plead guilty at a general court-martial hearing on Thursday, Task & Purpose reported Tuesday.
Maxwell’s attorney, Brian Bouffard, confirmed the plea deal to Task & Purpose, but would not share the punishment Maxwell would receive as a result of the agreement until sentencing is complete and the case details can be released to the public.
“This case is absolutely a tragedy and it was avoidable and just sad all around,” Bouffard told Task & Purpose on Tuesday. “Speaking from what I know of Staff Sgt. Maxwell as I’ve come to know him since this case arose: He’s filled with remorse over this and he’s always going to be filled with remorse over this and his role in it. He and Logan Melgar were friends and he didn’t act like his friend that night.”
— Task & Purpose (@TaskandPurpose) June 4, 2019
Maxwell is ready “to accept responsibility for his role” in Melgar’s death, caused by “a stupid prank that went horribly wrong,” Bouffard told Stars and Stripes.
Last month, another service member involved in the incident, Navy SEAL Adam Matthews pleaded guilty to charges of hazing, assault consummated by battery, burglary and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Matthews received a sentence of one year in prison, rank demotion, and a bad conduct discharge.
Matthews said that he, Maxwell, Marine Raider Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez, Navy Special Operations Chief Tony DeDolph, and a British special operator broke into Melgar’s room intending to wrap Melgar in duct tape and film an embarrassing video of him.
When they broke into Melgar’s room in the early morning hours of June 4, 2017, Matthews said Melgar awoken and immediately began fighting and that’s when DeDolph placed him into a chokehold, ultimately causing Melgar to stop breathing.
Although they performed CPR and attempted to open an airway in Melgar’s throat, they could not get him to breathe again.
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.
A Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) investigation probed the death for more than a year, concluding in November 2018.
DeDolph and Madera-Rodriguez have not yet appeared in court, though they are still facing charges for their roles in the incident. Their preliminary Article 32 hearings have not yet been scheduled.