A Marine was sentenced Friday to four years of confinement after pleading guilty to charges related to his role in the 2017 death of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar.
On Thursday, Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell, 29, formally pleaded guilty before a military judge on charges related to the hazing death of the Green Beret in Mali, his attorney Brian Bouffard told USNI News on Friday.
“I am deeply proud of the way Staff Sgt. Maxwell has accepted responsibility for this and I wish the Melgar family peace,” Bouffard said.
“This is a horrible, horrible event, and my heart goes out to everyone this wrongness has touched.”
Charges included negligent homicide, conspiracy to commit assault, hazing, obstructing justice and making false official statements to investigators related the June 4, 2017 death of Melgar.
In addition to confinement, Maxwell was reduced in rank to E-1 and will be given a bad conduct discharge, Bouffard told USNI News.
On Thursday, Maxwell testified that he, Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez, SEALs Chief Special Warfare Operator Adam Matthews and Chief Special Warfare Operator Anthony DeDolph broke into Melgar’s room to haze him.
Maxwell said the plan started as a joke over drinks at a Bambako bar as a reaction to Melgar leaving the group on a way to an embassy party. As the night went on, the quartet moved to carry out the plan.
“Melgar was sleeping in his room when the four operators, accompanied by a British citizen and two Malian guards, arrived at the house shared by the SEALs and Green Berets between 5 and 6 a.m., Maxwell testified,” according to The Virginian Pilot.
“There, they broke into Melgar’s room and bound him with tape while DeDolph put him in a chokehold. Melgar lost consciousness once but woke up, then was choked out again.”
Prosecutors made reference that the plan included a sexual assault but did not provide details.
Maxwell said that he and Melgar become friends during the deployment and expressed regret for his role in the incident to the court and Melgar’s family.
“I was willing to hurt that relationship with him because I was too weak to stand up for him and say, ‘I won’t do this.’ I was trying to fit in with this group,” Maxwell said, according to The New York Times. “I’m a terrible man. I’m a terrible friend. I’m a terrible guy. I betrayed an American. I betrayed my friend.”
Maxwell’s sentencing follows SEAL Matthew’s plea last month that included conspiracy to commit assault, unlawful entry, obstruction of justice and violating orders related to hazing. Both he and Maxwell had previously been charged with murder.