Two Navy SEALS and two Marine Raiders charged in the death of US Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar in Mali allegedly planned to render him unconscious and record him being sexually assaulted, according to a written statement from one of the Marines, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Melgar, a 34-year-old Green Beret of the 3rd Special Forces Group, was killed June 4, 2017 in an isolated outpost in Mali. He was killed after one of the SEALS held him in a choke hold, while the others tried to tie him with duct tape, prosecutors allege. His death was classified as “homicide by asphyxiation” by investigators.
Marine Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell, a Raider from the elite Marine Corps Special Operations Command, stated the four of them planned on breaking into Melgar’s bedroom with a sledgehammer, rendering him unconscious, tying him up, and then recording him being sexually by a Malian security guard, according to the statement obtained by The Post.
A British national acquainted with the troops was reportedly expected to take video footage of the assault.
Prosecutors allege that Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator Anthony DeDolph, Navy Chief Petty Officer Adam C. Matthews, Marine Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell, and Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez plotted to haze Melgar after tensions flared between them in recent months.
Maxwell’s defense attorney described the incident as a “prank” that “went bad” and said that his client is expected to plead guilty.
“They committed a prank on Melgar,” attorney Brian Bouffard said to The Post. “It was a stupid prank, and it was not the kind of prank you or I would want pulled on us. It went bad. Maxwell is eager to accept responsibility for his role in it.”
DeDedolph’s attorney, Phillip Stackhouse, denied there was “any intent to sexually assault Melgar,” according to The Post.
The four troops face charges of felony murder, obstruction of justice, burglary, and hazing. Matthews pleaded guilty to lesser charges in May and was sentenced to one year in prison and reduced in rank. DeDolph and Madera-Rodriguez still await court-martial.
“On June 4, 2017, the Navy expected me to lead,” Matthews said during his trial in Virginia. “I have carried the weight of Sgt. Melgar’s death every minute of every day since that night in Mali.”
“This was my fault,” he added. “I humbly accept whatever punishment you think is warranted.”