A Navy SEAL who is one of four service members charged in connection with the death of a Green Beret in Mali nearly two years ago will "take full responsibility for his role" in the incident at a hearing next week, his lawyer said.
Chief Special Warfare Officer Adam Matthews has reached a pretrial agreement under which he will be referred to a special court-martial rather than a general one, said his attorney Grover Baxley. The maximum penalty that a special court-martial can impose is one year in prison, reduction in rank to E-1, forfeiture of two-thirds pay for one year, and a bad conduct discharge.
Matthews will plead guilty to charges of hazing, assault consummated by battery, burglary, and conspiracy to obstruct justice, Baxley said. In return for his cooperation, prosecutors will withdraw charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter for taking part in actions that led to the death of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar on June 4, 2017 in Bamako, Mali, Baxley said.
In total, two SEALs and two Marine Raiders are accused of breaking into Melgar's room while he was sleeping, binding him with duct tape, and strangling him by putting him in a choke hold.
Matthews will appear in court on Thursday at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, according to the Navy.
"On Thursday, SOC Adam Matthews will take full responsibility for his role in the tragic death of Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar," Baxley said.
"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. 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."
In a scathing letter, a top Navy legal official on Sunday expressed "grave ethical concerns" over revelations that government prosecutors used tracking software in emails to defense lawyers in ongoing cases involving two Navy SEALs in San Diego.
The letter, written by David G. Wilson, Chief of Staff of the Navy's Defense Service Offices, requested a response by Tuesday from the Chief of the Navy's regional law offices detailing exactly what type of software was used and what it could do, who authorized it, and what controls were put in place to limit its spread on government networks.
"As our clients learn about these extraordinary events in the media, we are left unarmed with any facts to answer their understandable concerns about our ability to secure the information they must trust us to maintain. This situation has become untenable," Wilson wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Task & Purpose on Monday.
Riley Howell, the Army ROTC cadet shot and killed while restraining an active shooter at UNC Charlotte on April 30, was posthumously awarded the ROTC Medal of Heroism earlier this month for his heroic sacrifice, the Army announced.
The head of naval aviation has directed the creation of a new process for approving and reviewing pilots' call signs after two African-American aviators at an F/A-18 Hornet training squadron in Virginia filed complaints alleging racial bias in the unit, from which they said they were unfairly dismissed.
In a formal endorsement letter signed May 13, Vice Adm. DeWolfe Miller, commander of Naval Air Forces, said he found the two aviators, a Navy lieutenant and a Marine Corps captain, were correctly removed from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 out of Naval Air Station Oceana due to "substandard performance," despite errors and inconsistencies discovered in the grading and ranking process.
However, Miller said he did find inappropriate conduct by instructor pilots who did not treat the pilots-in-training "with appropriate dignity and respect," using discriminatory call signs and having inappropriate and unprofessional discussions about them on social media.