Two elite Navy SEALs and two Marine Raiders were charged with felony murder in the June 2017 strangulation death of U.S. Army Green Beret Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar.
The U.S. Navy brought the charges against the four service members on Tuesday, painting a gruesome picture of the effort to kill Melgar, 34.
The suspects are accused of driving to Marine quarters to obtain duct tape, breaking into Melgar’s room while he was sleeping, restraining him with the duct tape, and strangling him in a chokehold. The four U.S. service members, which include two members of the famed SEAL Team Six, killed Melgar “while perpetrating a burglary,” according to their charge sheets.
Melgar was killed in Bamako, Mali, where U.S. forces were working with local military to counter the local Al Qaeda affiliate, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. The charges were first reported by The Daily Beast.
Melgar died in the embassy housing he shared with other service members.
In addition to felony murder, the charges against the four men include conspiracy, obstruction of justice, hazing and burglary.
A spokesperson for U.S. Special Operations Command said these charges do not reflect the conduct of U.S. Special Operators all over the world.
“We will not allow allegations or substantiated incidents of misconduct erode decades of honorable accomplishments by the members of US Special Operations Command,” Captain Jason Salata said. “If these allegations of misconduct are substantiated, they represent a violation of the trust and standards required of all service members.”
“We hold ourselves and each other accountable on a daily basis because we know that lives are on the line.”
The names of the two Navy SEALS are redacted from the charge sheets, but a September 2017 Army Criminal Investigative Division report about the incident quotes Navy SEAL Tony DeDolph saying he and Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar were wrestling at 4 a.m. when a fellow SEAL Adam Cranston Matthew came in and joined in the horseplay. According to the SEALS, the men fell down together and when they stood up, Melgar wasn’t breathing.
The SEALs say they attempted CPR and tried to open an airway, but Melgar died of asphyxiation.
The identities of the Marine Raiders are still not public, but their tie to the Raiders was first reported by NBC News.