Marine sentenced to 4 years for role in Green Beret's death

Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar died in 2017

By Devan Cole, CNN
U.S. Government via Wikimedia Commons

(CNN) - A US Marine was sentenced Friday to four years' imprisonment for his role in the June 2017 death of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar in Bamako, Mali, a death that investigators determined to be murder.

Marine Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell Jr., in addition to receiving the four-year sentence by a military court in Norfolk, Virginia, received a demotion in rank to private and a bad conduct discharge, according to a statement from the US Navy. Maxwell will serve his sentence at a brig on Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina, the Navy said.

The Marine pleaded guilty on Thursday to a litany of charges in the case, including conspiracy assault, hazing, negligent homicide, burglary and making false official statements. He pleaded not guilty to charges of felony murder, murder and involuntary manslaughter.

Last year, the Navy brought charges against Maxwell, along with another Marine and two US Navy SEALs, alleging the service members broke into Melgar's bedroom, physically restrained him with duct tape and then placed him in a chokehold.

The official charge sheets said the murder took place while the service members were "perpetrating a burglary."

Military officials told CNN in 2017 that a military examiner had ruled Melgar's death at a US government compound, near the American embassy in the capital of the West African nation, was a homicide.

The Navy took over the investigation from the Army in September 2017.

Melgar's cause of death was asphyxiation, according to a defense official familiar with the findings of the medical examiner's report.

A native of Lubbock, Texas, Melgar enlisted in the US Army in 2012 and began Special Forces training in 2013, according to the US Army Special Command statement. He served two deployments to Afghanistan.

CNN's Ryan Browne and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

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