Four enlisted special operations troops, two Marines and two sailors, now face criminal charges in the alleged strangulation last year of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar during a deployment to Mali, the Navy announced Thursday.
The announcement comes at the conclusion of a lengthy Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation into Melgar's June 4, 2017 death in the Mali capital of Bamako.
"The report was forwarded to Commander, Naval Region Mid-Atlantic, designated as the Consolidated Disposition Authority by the Secretary of the Navy to review all relevant information pertaining to Staff Sergeant Melgar's death and make determinations regarding administrative or disciplinary actions as appropriate," NCIS officials said in a released statement.
Charged in the alleged murder are a Marine staff sergeant and gunnery sergeant assigned to Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, whose names are redacted in military charge sheets; and two SEAL chief special warfare operators assigned to Naval Special Warfare Development Group, also known as SEAL Team Six.
The two SEALs under investigation in Melgar's death had previously been identified as Tony DeDolph and Adam Cranston Matthew.
The charges against the four individuals were finalized yesterday, according to a release from Navy Region Mid-Atlantic.
All four service members face charges of conspiracy and assault. They're accused of driving to the Marine Corps quarters in Mali to obtain duct tape, breaking into Melgar's locked bedroom, physically restraining the Green Beret by tying him up with duct tape, and strangling him by placing him in a choke hold, according to charge sheets.
They're also charged with felony murder and involuntary manslaughter in Melgar's death and of hazing by breaking into his room and restraining him.
One of the SEALs is accused of performing a cricothyrotomy, in which a throat tube is inserted to create an airway, on Melgar's dead body to hide evidence of the soldier's strangling.
All four are accused of obstructing justice by providing false timelines of events to their chain of command, omitting facts and making false statements to investigators and secretly disposing of alcohol kept in Navy and Army headquarters.
An NBC news report in May revealed that NCIS was investigating two Marines and two SEALs for possible involvement in the death of Melgar, 34. The alleged assault reportedly occurred in embassy housing in Bamako in retaliation for a perceived offense at a party.
Navy officials said an Article 32 preliminary hearing for all four men is scheduled for Dec. 10. Rear Adm. Charles Rock, the commanding officer for Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, has been appointed to oversee the prosecutions.
-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.