Without providing an explanation, the U.S. Navy (USN) has postponed the Article 32 hearing of the two SEAL Team 6 operators and the two Marine Raiders accused in the murder of a Green Beret in Mali in 2017.
The names of the operators, however, have been released. The SEAL Team 6 operatorsare Chief Special Warfare Operator Adam Matthews and Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Anthony DeDolph. Before embarking on his SEAL career, DeDolph was a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter. The Marine Raiders are Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez and Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell.
This is the second time the Navy has postponed the Article 32 hearing, which was initially scheduled to take place on December 10th and then on March 6th. At first, only the two SEALs were under investigation. Subsequent evidence, however, led to the two Marine Raiders also being accused of participating in the murder.
The two SEALs were assigned to the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU), another name for SEAL Team 6. The two Marine Raiders were part of the Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC). The four operators face numerous charges, including felony murder, involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy obstruction of justice, hazing and burglary. More specifically, they are accused of attacking, binding with duct tape, and choking to death Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, a Special Forces non-commissioned officer assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group. They are also accused of lying to Army and Navy investigators about the incident. All four of them have been placed on administrative hold but they are not in pretrial confinement.
According to accounts that came up after the incident, the four men decided to silence Staff Sergeant Melgar because he had caught them allegedly stealing operational funds that were apportioned for counterterrorism and intelligence-gathering operations in Mali.
An Article 32 hearing is mandatory before a general court-martial is adjourned. During the hearing process, a presiding military judge hears the evidence and decides whether there is a sufficient case to proceed to the next phase, which is a general court-martial.
The Navy has also decided to postpone the trial of Chief Special Warfare Operator Eddie Gallagher, who is facing multiple war crimes accusations.
A native of Texas, Staff Sergeant Melgar had conducted two combat deployments in Afghanistan with the 3rd Special Forces Group. In Mali, he was a member of a joint Special Operations team that provided security and intelligence-gathering functions to the American Embassy in Bamako.