Navy SEAL details death of Green Beret, admitting to hazing and assault, sentenced to 12 months

Posted at 5:19 PM, May 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-16 19:20:45-04

NORFOLK, Va. – A locally-based Navy SEAL pleaded guilty during a court hearing on Thursday to charges related to the 2017 death of Army Staff Sergeant and Green Beret Logan Melgar.

Chief Special Warfare Operator Adam Matthews reached a plea agreement with prosecutors over his involvement in Melgar’s death. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit assault, unlawful entry, assault, hazing and obstruction of justice, according to his attorney, Grover Baxley.

The Military Times first reported details of the plea deal.

“On Thursday, SOC Adam Matthews will take full responsibility for his role in the tragic death of SSG Logan Melgar.  He looks forward to detailing what happened that night in Mali almost 2 years ago, and hopes that his explanation of events will assist the Melgar family in finding some semblance of closure,” Baxley said in a statement.

With the agreement, prosecutors will dismiss murder and involuntary manslaughter charges against Matthews, Baxley said. Both sides agreed the maximum sentence is one year.

Matthews received 12 months of confinement and a bad conduct discharge from the military. The judge said the bad conduct discharge could be reconsidered for something less severe if Matthews cooperates at future trials and if Melgar’s family approves.

According to a release by the Navy, four personnel, including Matthews, face charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for Melgar’s 2017 death while he was serving in Mali.

Redacted charging documents say the group broke into Melgar’s room while he was sleeping. They then restrained him with duct tape and strangled him to death by putting him in a chokehold, according to the documents.

“SSG 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,” Baxley continued in a statement.