- The Washington Times - Friday, June 7, 2019

A military court on Friday sentenced a decorated Marine Corps special operator to a four-year prison term for his role in the death of a Green Beret during a 2017 deployment to Africa.

Marine Corps Raider Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell Jr. had already pleaded guilty to charges of negligent homicide, burglary and obstruction related to the death of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar. As part of his sentence, Sgt. Maxwell will also be demoted to private and receive a bad conduct discharge.

Sgt. Maxwell is one of four U.S. special ops members charged with Melgar’s killing, which took place when the elite troops were deployed in the West African nation of Mali.

“How can something like this happen in 2017?” asked military judge Marine Col. Glen Hines at Friday’s sentencing, Stars and Stripes reported. “The question needs to be answered. If we don’t get to the bottom of it, this is going to happen again.”

Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer Adam Matthews was sentenced to a year in prison for his role in the killing, after he and Sgt. Maxwell pleaded guilty to the charges in a plea deal with the prosecution. The other two special ops members, Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer Tony DeDolphand Marine Raider Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez, are still in custody awaiting trial.

The Marines and SEALs were accused of breaking into Sgt. Melgar’s barracks room in the Malian capital of Bamako, choking him and binding his hands and feet with duct tape. The SEALs claimed Staff Sgt. Melgar’s death was an accident in what was supposed to be a hazing exercise.

The Washington Post reported that all four men planned to subdue Sgt. Melgar and then videotape a Malian security contractor sexually assaulting him. The plan was hatched as retribution for perceived slights between the SEAL unit and Sgt. Melgar’s unit from 3rd Special Forces Group.

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