SEAL Sentenced to 10 Years for Green Beret’s Killing

military dive operations

ATLANTIC OCEAN (May 29, 2019) A member assigned to Naval Special Warfare Group 2 conducts military dive operations of the East Coast of the United States. U.S. Navy SEALs engage in a continuous training cycle to improve and further specialize skills needed during deployments across the globe. SEALs are the maritime component of U.S. Special Forces and are trained to conduct missions from sea, air, and land. Naval Special Warfare (NSW) has more than 1,000 special operators and support personnel deployed to more than 35 countries, addressing security threats, assuring partners and strengthening alliances while supporting Joint and combined campaigns. NSW’s ability to understand the operational landscape, adapt quickly and evolve capacity, capabilities and concepts based on operational requirements is one of our great strengths. NSW forces are trained to conduct primary direct action and special reconnaissance core activities and as well as to build partner capacity in or out of the maritime environment in order to support the U.S. Navy, U.S. Special Operations Command, geographic combat commanders and ultimately, national objectives across a full range of political and operational environments. (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jayme Pastoric/Released)

Members assigned to Naval Special Warfare Group 2 conduct military dive operations off the east coast of the United States, May 29, 2019. US Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jayme Pastoric.

A Navy SEAL convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the killing of an Army Special Forces soldier was sentenced to 10 years in prison over the weekend.

Formerly a member of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, commonly known as SEAL Team 6, Chief Petty Officer Anthony DeDolph was formally charged in November 2018 for the death of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, a Green Beret assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group who was deployed to Mali in 2017 as part of a multinational counterterrorism operation. DeDolph, who was busted down in rank to seaman, will also be dishonorably discharged from the Navy, according to the terms of his sentencing.

Along with another SEAL and two Marine Raiders, in June 2017 DeDolph allegedly surprised Melgar during his sleep and restrained him. Melgar unexpectedly died after DeDolph, a former professional mixed martial arts fighter, put him in a chokehold. According to testimony, Melgar stopped breathing within seconds. Despite the immediate rendering of first aid, including CPR and an emergency tracheotomy, the 34-year-old Green Beret later died at a French medical facility.

SEAL sentenced for the killing of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, pictured

Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, a Special Forces soldier, was killed during a 2017 hazing incident in Mali. Former Navy SEAL Anthony DeDolph has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for charges including involuntary manslaughter. Photo courtesy of US Army.

The criminal charges originally levied against DeDolph include felony murder, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, burglary, hazing, and involuntary manslaughter. In exchange for the Navy dropping the felony murder and burglary charges, DeDolph pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. That crime carried a maximum sentence of 22.5 years in prison.

DeDolph also pleaded guilty to hazing, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice. As part of his plea bargain, he reportedly agreed not to profit from the case or his time as a member of SEAL Team 6.

DeDolph was the third of four defendants to plead guilty in the case. Navy Chief SWO Adam Matthews, who is also a SEAL, and Marine Raider Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell Jr. have already pleaded guilty and agreed to serve as prosecution witnesses in future trials.

Following Melgar’s death, a cover-up ensued in which Matthews and DeDolph agreed to tell investigators that Melgar had accidentally died during hand-to-hand combat training. They also claimed that Melgar was drunk at the time, and excluded the participation of the two Marines, Madera-Rodriguez and Maxwell, from their account of the incident.

Matthews, who faced the same charges as DeDolph, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, unlawful entry, hazing, obstruction of justice, and assault with battery. He was sentenced to a one-year confinement and a bad conduct discharge.

Maxwell, for his part, pleaded guilty to negligent homicide, hazing, and making false official statements. He was sentenced to four years in prison. The other Marine Raider, Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez, awaits a Feb. 1 court-martial trial at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia.

DeDolph plans to appeal his sentence, said his lawyer, Phil Stackhouse.

Nolan Peterson is a senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine and the author of Why Soldiers Miss War. A former US Air Force special operations pilot and a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Nolan is now a conflict journalist and author whose adventures have taken him to all seven continents. In addition to his memoirs, Nolan has published two fiction collections. He lives in Kyiv, Ukraine, with his wife, Lilya.
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