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A US Navy SEAL has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in the hazing death of an Army Green Beret while the men were stationed in Africa.

Chief Warrant Officer Tony DeDolph, a member of the elite SEAL 6 Team, pleaded guilty earlier this month to manslaughter, hazing, conspiracy and obstruction of justice in the strangulation death of Sergeant Logan Melgar, 34, in June of 2017.

A military jury handed down DeDolph’s 10-year sentence on Saturday at a naval base in Norfolk, Virginia.

The officer was also hit with a rank reduction to E-1, loss of pay and allowances and was dishonorably fired, according to a defense official.

At a plea hearing on January 14, DeDolph offered a detailed account of the night he and other service members started a prank known as a ‘recording job’ on Melgar, an assigned Special Forces soldier. to the 3rd Special Forces Group.

DeDolph told a military judge that the men were trying to teach Melgar a lesson about perceived slights while serving in Mali in 2017.

But the SEAL said they were soon “in a state of shock and deeply disturbed” after Melgar, tied up with duct tape, remained unresponsive for several minutes.

 Chief Petty Officer Tony DeDolph (left) was sentenced to ten years in prison on Saturday after he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for his role in the strangulation death of Green Beret Army Staff Sgt Logan Melgar (right) in 2017

DeDolph said his role in the prank was to make Melgar temporarily lose consciousness by placing him in a martial arts-style chokehold. He said the ‘bare butt choke’ restricts blood flow to the neck and is used in the military.

“I effectively applied the choke as I have done numerous times in training, in combat, and it has been done to me,” DeDolph said.

Melgar lost consciousness in about 10 seconds, but did not wake up after the typical 30 seconds, the SEAL said.

“Usually at that point, the guy has gotten up,” he said. And he didn’t.

 

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DeDolph is the third of four US service members, two SEALs and two Marines, to face court martial over the death of Melgar, a native of Texas.

The case has drawn the curtain on misconduct among some of America’s most elite service members, while offering a brief window into how some have addressed outlaw complaints.

The collection documents do not establish why the service members were in Bamako, Mali. But US Special Forces have been to Africa to support and train local troops in their fight against extremists.

DeDolph will spend ten years in military prison at Norfolk Naval Station

Adam Matthews, a SEAL who pleaded guilty to his role in Melgar’s death in 2019, previously testified that two Marines felt that Melgar had abandoned them while they were driving in separate vehicles in an unsafe location.

DeDolph said Wednesday that Melgar had “dumped” the service members as a “joke.”

The idea of ​​pranking Melgar in return started as a joke, but the conversation escalated overnight, DeDolph said.

“It was more like a pack mentality, a group decision,” he said.

DeDolph said the plan included knocking down Melgar’s door with a mallet for effect, tying him down with duct tape and performing the choke. Someone was supposed to dance in a gorilla mask. And a video of the incident was supposed to be taken.

In addition to the manslaughter, DeDolph pleaded guilty to hazing, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice for trying to cover up the cause of Melgar’s death.

He faced a maximum sentence of 22 1/2 years in prison, losing rank and dishonorable discharge.

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