Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Tony DeDolph will plead guilty to the involuntary manslaughter of Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar.

Navy SEAL Chief Tony DeDolph, Navy SEAL Chief Matthews, and two Marine Raiders, Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez and Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell were charged in November 2018 with felony murder, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, burglary, hazing, and involuntary manslaughter in the strangulation death of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar. Melgar was a Special Forces Green Beret soldier who was assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Chief DeDolph will plead guilty on January 14, 2021, to involuntary manslaughter, obstruction of justice, and hazing. The prosecution is willing to dismiss felony murder and burglary in exchange for the guilty plea. DeDolph also agreed to a provision that bars him from profiting from the case in any way, including writing books or earning a living based on his experience while assigned to SEAL Team 6.

“This agreement will end the contested charges, allowing [Special Operations Chief] DeDolph to accept responsibility for those offenses he can and mitigate most of the concerns over classified material present in the case,” Phil Stackhouse, DeDolph’s civilian attorney, said in a statement. 

“We believe what is intended by a person’s actions is eminently important, and the agreement recognizes that SOC DeDolph never intended to injure Logan Melgar, but also recognizes the fact that Melgar died as a result of actions that went tragically wrong on June 4, 2017.”

Stackhouse said that while Melgar’s “death was not intentional,” it doesn’t diminish the grief felt by his friends and family and that the guilty plea is an attempt to help Melgar’s family “find closure and peace.”

The hearing is scheduled for January 14, 2021, in Norfolk, VA. Chief DeDolph will be required to convince a military judge of his guilt. After the hearing, DeDolph will then be sentenced by a jury.

DeDolph is the third of four defendants to plead guilty in the case. Only Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez is still awaiting trial. 

Army Green Beret Logan Melgar
Sergeant Logan Melgar with his father in front of the famous Bronze Bruce statue located at Fort Bragg, NC.

DeDolph and Melgar were part of the intelligence operation in Mali supporting counterterrorism efforts in 2017.