The murder trial of Marine Raider Gunnery Sergeant Mario Madera-Rodriguez, who is charged with the death of Green Beret SSG Logan Melgar in June 2017 has begun. SSG Logan Melgar belonged to the 3rd Special Forces Group

Madera-Rodriguez is being charged with conspiracy, assault, obstruction of justice, burglary, false official statements, involuntary manslaughter, and felony murder. 

The prosecution told the jury that the Marine Raider betrayed his comrade, helped kill him during a planned attack at the victim’s apartment, and then tried to cover up the incident by lying to investigators.

Another Marine Raider and two Navy SEALs were also charged.

According to the Army Times, the defense’s opening statement was not released to the public because it contained classified information.

The four men claimed that they were only trying to humiliate Melgar but instead strangled him to death. Madera-Rodriguez is the only one of the four to plead not guilty. The other three entered guilty pleas and received jail terms; they are expected to be called as witnesses for the prosecution. If Madera-Rodriguez is convicted of murder, he faces a possible sentence of life without parole.

SSG Logan Melgar and his father at Ft. Bragg, NC prior to his deployment to Mali where he was killed by other Americans. (File photo)

“These four men weren’t terrorists,” Marine prosecutor Jason Samuel said. “They weren’t insurgents. They weren’t local criminals. They were American servicemembers, special operators… who betrayed their fellow comrade, their brother in arms.”

Samuel stated that each of the four had specific roles in the attack on Melgar. Madera-Rodriguez was supposed to smash open Melgar’s bedroom door with a sledgehammer and then turn on some loud music to drown out the noise. Marine SSG Kevin Maxwell Jr., was to pull back the mosquito netting around Melgar’s bed. Navy SEAL Anthony DeDolph, a former MMA fighter, was going to render Melgar unconscious by putting him in a chokehold while Navy SEAL Adam Matthews would duct tape Melgar to immobilize him.