The Navy SEAL who admitted to suffocating a special forces soldier to death in 2017 has agreed to plead guilty, according to his lawyer.
Tony DeDolph Chief Petty Officer was formally charged with another SEAL and two Special Operations Marines in November 2018 for murder, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, burglary, hazing and manslaughter in the strangling death of Staff Sgt. army. Logan Melgar, a special forces soldier assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group.
Sources close to the plea deal say DeDolph will plead guilty Jan. 14 to manslaughter, obstruction of justice and hazing. The prosecution will dismiss the murder and robbery in exchange for the guilty plea. Sources claim DeDolph also agreed to a provision that prevents him from profiting from the case in any way, including writing books or making a living based on his experience with SEAL Team. 6.
“This agreement will end the disputed charges, allowing the SOC [Special Operations Chief] DeDolph to accept responsibility for these breaches, he can and will alleviate most concerns about the classified documents present in the case, ”Phil Stackhouse, civil counsel for DeDolph, said in a statement. “We believe that what a person’s actions are aimed at is eminently important and the agreement acknowledges that SOC DeDolph never intended to hurt Logan Melgar, but also recognizes the fact that Melgar died as a result of ‘acts that tragically went wrong on June 4, 2017. “
Stackhouse said that while “Melgar’s death was unintentional,” it does not lessen the grief felt by his friends and family. Stackhouse said the guilty plea was an attempt to help Melgar’s family “find peace and peace.”
The Daily Beast left a voicemail message on a number allegedly owned by DeDolph, but the call was not returned at press time. Melgar’s widow Michelle declined to comment.
A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 14 in Norfolk, Virginia, where DeDolph will have to convince a military judge of his guilt. After the hearing, DeDolph will be sentenced by a jury, sources say.
DeDolph is the third of four defendants to plead guilty in this case. Only Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez, a Marine Raider, is still awaiting trial. DeDolph’s plea deal closes one of the final chapters in a case that saw one of the NCIS investigators withdraw from the case after engaging in a romantic relationship with a witness and a SEAL defendant hit Melgar’s widow at a gun show in Las Vegas. The Navy even promoted DeDolph four months after admitting to choking the Green Beret to death.
DeDolph was part of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, commonly known as Seal Team 6. He and Melgar were part of an intelligence operation in Mali supporting counterterrorism efforts against the local Al Qaeda affiliate. , known as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in 2017.
Chief Petty Officer Adam C. Matthews, who was in Mali to do a mission assessment there, said in August 2019 that he felt it was his duty to confuse Melgar – on DeDolph’s recommendation – to teach him a lesson after Melgar “quits” the team. in Bamako, the capital of Mali, on the way to a party at the French Embassy.
DeDolph, Matthews and two Marine Raiders – Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez and Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell – spent the rest of the night plotting to suffocate Melgar in unconsciousness, pull his pants down and film the incident, then show it to him later to embarrass him.
The four men – after getting permission from First Class Sergeant James Morris, Melgar’s supervisor – broke down Melgar’s door and attacked him. During the melee, Melgar grew numb. Matthews and DeDolph tried to resuscitate Melgar with CPR and cut a hole in his throat. The SEALS with Morris then transported Melgar to a French medical facility, where he was pronounced dead. At the clinic, DeDolph admitted to an embassy official that he had strangled Melgar, according to NBC News and subsequent reports.
A medical examiner’s report, based on a June 8, 2017 autopsy at Dover Air Force Base, concluded that Melgar’s cause of death was asphyxiation and the mode of death was homicide, according to documents reviewed by The Daily Beast.
Maxwell and Matthews have previously pleaded guilty in exchange for plea deals with prosecutors. Matthews, 33, pleaded guilty to hazing and assault charges and tried to cover up what happened to Melgar. He was sentenced in May 2019 to one year in military prison. Maxwell, 29, was sentenced to four years in jail after pleading guilty to Melgar’s death in June 2019.
Madera-Rodriguez is the last of the four men who carried out the attack to stand trial. He is expected to face a court martial in February and has no plans to plead guilty, his civilian lawyer Colby Vokey has said.
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