The SEAL who pleaded guilty this month to manslaughter in the 2017 death of Green Beret Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar was sentenced to 10 years of confinement on Saturday, USNI News has learned.
In addition to the confinement, Chief Special Warfare Operator Anthony DeDolph was reduced in rank to E1, loss of pay and a dishonorable discharge, DeDolph’s defense attorney Phil Stackhouse told USNI News on Saturday.
DeDolph, formerly a member of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, also known as SEAL Team 6, pleaded guilty on Jan. 14 to commit assault, involuntary manslaughter, hazing and obstruction of justice. His initial charges included felony murder.
He and Melgar lived in the same house in Bamako, Mali as part of a special operations detachment operating in Africa. SEALs DeDolph, Chief Special Warfare Operator Adam Matthews and Marine Raiders Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell and Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez had planned a “tape job” for Melgar over drinks after a perceived slight.
During Matthews’ trial last year, The Associated Press reported “the Marines felt Melgar had abandoned them in an unsafe city that’s been the target of terrorist activity.” On June 4, 2017, the Marines, SEALs, a British citizen and two Malian guards broke into Melgar’s room with a sledgehammer and DeDolph applied a “rear naked choke” to force Melgar unconscious.
“I effectively applied the chokehold as I have done numerous times in training, in combatives, and has been done to me,” DeDolph told a military judge on Jan. 14, according to The Associated Press.
After 30 seconds, Melgar did not wake up and the SEALs and Marines unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate the solider, according to Stackhouse.
In a subsequent Army investigation, prosecutors say that the SEALs left out key details like the duct tape and the presence of the Marines prompting the obstruction of justice charges.
The military jury did not take long to reach a sentence, according to DeDolph’s attorney.
“The jury deliberated on a sentence less time than the lawyers argued their points and it would have been virtually impossible for them to do more than a cursory review of the significant volume of evidence given to them just when they began,” Stackhouse said in a statement to USNI News.
A Navy spokeswoman did not immediately respond to messages seeking details of the sentence. The Daily Beast reported on sentence on Saturday citing a defense official.
DeDolph will appeal the sentence to the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals and petition for parole when eligible, Stackhouse said. He is the third service member to be sentenced in the death of Melgar.
Matthews, the other SEAL, was sentenced to a year in prison in 2019. Maxwell, one of the Marines, was sentenced to four years.
Madera-Rodriguez, the other Marine, is set to go to trial in April, according to a Navy spokesperson.