Marine found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in death of Green Beret from Lubbock
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - U.S. Marine Mario Madera-Rodriguez was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Lubbock native Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar on Friday, but he was found not guilty of felony murder.
Melgar, a Green Beret assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group, died by strangulation on June 4, 2017 while deployed to Bamako, Mali.
Melgar was a 2001 graduate of Frenship High School and a veteran of two deployments to Afghanistan. He was 34.
Another Marine, Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell Jr., already pleaded guilty and was sentenced in June to four years in military prison for his role in Melgar’s death. Maxwell was charged with negligent homicide, hazing and making false official statements.
Navy SEAL Adam Matthews was also sentenced in May 2019 to a year’s confinement and a bad conduct discharge. Matthews, formerly a member of SEAL Team 6, pleaded guilty to charges including conspiracy, unlawful entry, hazing, obstruction of justice and assault with battery. The murder charge against him was dropped.
During his hearing in May 2019, Matthews admitted that he, alongside Maxwell, DeDolph, Madera-Rodriguez and an unnamed British special operator schemed together to break into Melgar’s room as he slept, subdue him, duct tape him and video the incident to embarrass him.
Melgar stopped breathing and strangled to death while he was in a chokehold during the hazing incident.
Matthews told the court that the hazing incident came after a perceived snub when Melgar apparently drove by some of the men while on his way to a party at the French Embassy without stopping to pick them up.
Court documents say the group attempted to perform CPR followed by a field expedient tracheotomy to try to revive him before taking him to a nearby clinic where he was ultimately pronounced dead.
NBC reports that all four men were charged with felony murder and other crimes. The other three pleaded guilty and only Madera-Rodriguez pleaded not guilty and went to trial. Madera-Rodriguez was also found guilty of hazing, battery, conspiracy and making false statements.
The Marine Corps Times reports that the three other men, Navy SEAL Chief Special Warfare Officer Tony E. DeDolph, Marine Raider Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell Jr. and Navy SEAL Chief Special Warfare Officer Adam C. Matthews all pleaded guilty and faced demotions, confinement and dishonorable discharges.
DeDolph received the highest sentence of 10 years in prison.
Madera-Rodriguez’s attorney claimed in closing statements that he played a “minor” role in the man’s death because his part was limited to breaking in and playing music, not choking Melgar.
Copyright 2021 KCBD. All rights reserved.