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Attorney: SEAL to accept plea deal in Green Beret's death

Associated Press logoAssociated Press 6 days ago
This undated photo provided by the U.S. Army shows U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar Green Beret, who died from non-combat related injuries in Mali in June 2017. The attorney for Navy SEAL Adam Matthews, one of four U.S. servicemen charged in the death of Melgar, said Matthews will plead guilty Thursday, May 16, 2019, to hazing, assault and other charges. But a murder charge will be dropped. (U.S. Army via AP) © The Associated Press This undated photo provided by the U.S. Army shows U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar Green Beret, who died from non-combat related injuries in Mali in June 2017. The attorney for Navy SEAL Adam Matthews, one of four U.S. servicemen charged in the death of Melgar, said Matthews will plead guilty Thursday, May 16, 2019, to hazing, assault and other charges. But a murder charge will be dropped. (U.S. Army via AP)

NORFOLK, Va. — A U.S. Navy SEAL is expected to formally accept a plea deal on Thursday for his role in the 2017 strangulation death of a U.S. Army Green Beret in Africa.

Navy SEAL Adam Matthews is one for four U.S. service members charged with murder and related counts in the death of Army Staff Sergeant Logan Melgar, a Texas native.

The five men were stationed in the African country of Mali. Charging documents describe a situation in which some of the nation's most elite military personnel — including two members of the famed SEAL Team Six — broke into Melgar's bedroom while he was sleeping, bound him with duct tape and put him into a choke hold.

A special court martial hearing for Matthews is scheduled for Thursday at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia. It could offer new details about what happened that night. Publicly released charging documents have not revealed a specific motive.

Matthews' attorney, Grover Baxley, said Matthews will plead guilty to hazing, assault and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Charges of murder and involuntary manslaughter will be dropped, Baxley said.

Baxley said that Melgar's death "was an unforeseen accident that has dramatically impacted the lives of everyone involved."

The attorney added that Matthews will take full responsibility for his role in the incident and help the Navy to resolve the case.

"He looks forward to detailing what happened that night in Mali almost 2 years ago, and hopes that his explanation of events will assist the Melgar family in finding some semblance of closure," Baxley said in a statement.

Melgar was a native of Lubbock, Texas. He had deployed to Afghanistan twice before his death in Bamako, Mali, in June 2017, Army officials said.

The two Marines charged in the case are listed as being part of Special Operations Command.

The SEALs belong to the Navy Special Warfare Development Group. The unit is better known as SEAL Team 6, which participated in the May 2011 raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden at his compound.

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