A Navy SEAL might face over 22 years in jail after pleading guilty to a number of charges connected to his alleged function in the 2017 hazing death of an Army Green Beret personnel sergeant.
Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator Tony DeDolph pleaded guilty to uncontrolled manslaughter, hazing, blockage of justice and conspiracy charges connected to assault and blockage of justice at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia on Thursday, according to Army Times DeDolph is among 4 service members charged in connection to the death of Personnel Sgt. Logan Melgar and the third to plead guilty to charges in the case.
Melgar passed away on June 4, 2017, while he and the group implicated in his death, consisting of Navy and Militaries members, were serving together in Bamako, Mali. The group supposedly got into Melgar’s quarters using a sledgehammer at 5 a.m. in retaliation for perceived tensions between the guys, with plans to tape a video of him in a staged and potentially humiliating sex act.
DeDolph, a previous expert combined martial arts fighter, put Melgar in chokehold as the other guys limited him and started to apply duct tape. Melgar stopped breathing only seconds after being positioned in the hold. The group say they tried to resuscitate him, Melgar was soon pronounced dead at a medical facility nearby.
The group then proceeded to apparently try to cover the crime after it occurred, initially claiming that Melgar had actually been willingly taking part in mock fighting however stopped breathing after being put in the hold due to being intoxicated.
However, investigators quickly discovered that Melgar did not consume alcohol, while his partner supposedly stated that he “wasn’t comfortable with how some of his fellow special operators were behaving on the release.”
DeDolph was a member of the elite SEAL Team 6, the system popular for the 2011 killing of Osama Bin Laden. In 2019, his fellow SEAL Team Six member, Chief Special Warfare Officer Adam C. Matthews, pleaded guilty to decreased charges and consented to testify against his supposed co-conspirators prior to being sentenced to 1 year in jail.
Marine Raider Personnel Sgt. Kevin Maxwell Jr. made a similar deal and was sentenced to 4 years in prison months after Matthews. A trial for the 4th suspect in Melgar’s death, Marine Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez, is anticipated to start on February 1, according to Army Times The trials of DeDolph and Madera-Rodriguez were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
DeDolph had been charged with murder prior to consenting to plead guilty to the lower charges. In addition to a possible maximum sentence of 22 years and 6 months in prison, he also deals with fines, loss of settlement, a demotion in rank and a wrong discharge.
Newsweek reached out to the Navy for remark.