Navy SEALs and Marines charged over death of Green Beret in Mali

By Ryan Browne, CNN

Two US Navy SEALs and two US Marines have been charged for their role in the June 2017 death of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar in Bamako, Mali, a death that investigators determined to be murder.

“Charges were preferred yesterday against two sailors and two marines,” the Navy said in a statement.

The charges include felony murder, involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, hazing and burglary.

The official charge sheets accuse the two Navy SEALs and two Marines of breaking into Melgar’s bedroom, physically restraining him with duct tape and placing him in a chokehold.

The charge sheets say the murder took place while the accused were “perpetrating a burglary.”

The four service members are also accused of lying to investigators.

The Article 32 preliminary hearing for the four accused is currently scheduled for December 10.

The Daily Beast was first to report the charges.

“We honor the memory of Staff Sgt. Melgar, our thoughts remain with his family and teammates,” US Navy Capt. Jason Salata, a spokesman for US Special Operations Command, told CNN.

“If these allegations of misconduct are substantiated, they represent a violation of the trust and standards required of all service members. We trust our service members to safeguard our nation’s most sensitive interests and to do so with honor,” Salata added.

Earlier this month, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service sent its report on the investigation into Melgar’s death to Rear Adm. Charles Rock, the commander of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, in order to “make determinations regarding administrative or disciplinary actions as appropriate.”

Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer ordered Rock to oversee see disciplinary actions relating to Melgar’s death in late October.

Military officials told CNN last year that a military examiner had ruled Melgar’s death at a US government compound, near the American embassy in the capital of the West African nation, was a homicide.

The Navy took over the investigation from the Army in September 2017.

CNN previously reported that two members of SEAL Team Six were under investigation.

Melgar’s cause of death was asphyxiation, according to a defense official familiar with the findings of the medical examiner’s report.

Melgar, a native of Lubbock, Texas, enlisted in the US Army in 2012 and began Special Forces training in 2013, according to the US Army Special Command statement. He served two deployments to Afghanistan.

This article has been updated to credit the Daily Beast with first reporting the charges.