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Navy SEAL sentenced to 10 years in hazing death of Green Beret

By DAVE RESS | The Daily Press | Published: January 24, 2021

NORFOLK, Va. (Tribune News Service) — A Navy SEAL convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the hazing death of an Army Green Beret in 2017 was sentenced this weekend to 10 years in prison.

SEAL Team 6 member Tony E. DeDolph also was demoted from chief petty officer to seaman and will be dishonorably discharged. He must forfeit pay.

DeDolph pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter earlier this month after admitting that he applied the chokehold that killed Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar while trying to haze him in 2017 in Mali, West Africa.

Two others previously convicted in the case, former Navy Chief Special Operator Adam Matthews and former Marine Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell Jr., were sentenced to one year and four years confinement, respectively. Both are receiving bad conduct discharges.

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez has also been charged in Melgar’s death. A trial is set for later this year.

DeDolph intends to appeal the sentence, according to his attorney, Philip Stackhouse.

DeDolph pleaded guilty as part of a pretrial agreement in which the Navy dropped charges of felony murder and burglary. Under the agreement, he faced a maximum of 22½ years in prison.

In addition to the manslaughter charge, he pleaded guilty to hazing, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Officials said he cut an incision in Melgar’s neck normally used to open an emergency airway in order to hide injuries from the chokehold.

The chokehold DeDolph applied involves placing the front of a victim’s neck in the crook of one arm, while pressing with the other on the back of the neck. He told his court-martial that he had safely performed the hold many times in training.

DeDolph said he and the other three men broke into Melgar’s room intending to haze him.

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