A Navy SEAL and a Marine Raider charged with murder in connection with the hazing death of Special Forces Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar are scheduled to appear at an Article 32 hearing on Aug. 5, Navy officials have announced.
Navy Special Operations Chief Tony DeDolph and Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez are accused of taking part in the June 2017 assault on Melgar in Bamako, Mali.
The Washington Post previously reported that four U.S. troops, a British special operator, and a Malian security guard intended to bind Melgar and make a video of him being sexually assaulted.
The two other U.S. troops involved with Melgar's death have already pleaded guilty as part of plea agreements with prosecutors.
Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator Adam Matthews was sentenced to one year in prison, reduction in rank to E-5, and a possible bad conduct discharge. Marine Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell Jr. was sentenced to four years in prison, reduction in rank to E-1, and a bad conduct discharge.
At his sentencing, Matthews testified that DeDolph allegedly placed Melgar in a chokehold until he asphyxiated. DeDolph is also accused of trying to cover up how Melgar died by initially telling investigators that he and the Green Beret had been wrestling at the time of his death.
Given that two service members have already pleaded guilty in connection with Melgar's death, DeDloph's civilian attorney Phillip Stackhouse said he expects charges against his client will be referred to a general court-martial.
“The credibility of witnesses requested weigh heavily on whether probable cause exists and the just handling of this case,” said Stackhouse, a retired Marine major. “Thus far, the government attorneys have recommended denying all defense witness requests, but the hearing officer has directed several witnesses be produced and present. We will see if credibility is important to justice.”
Madera-Rodriguez's civilian attorney is Colby Vokey, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel.
“This was just one big tragic accident,”Vokey told Task & Purpose.