RadioOnFire.com - A U.S. Navy SEAL was sentenced to one year in military prison on Thursday for his role in the 2017 hazing-related death of a U.S. Army Green Beret in Africa.
Adam Matthews is the first of four U.S. service members to face military court proceedings as well as punishment for the strangulation death of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, a Texas native.
Matthews was sentenced by a military judge at a Navy base in Norfolk, Virginia, following a plea agreement he made the same day. Prosecutors dropped a murder charge in exchange for his testimony against another Navy SEAL and two Marines.
"I've carried the weight of Staff Sgt. Melgar's death every minute of every day since that night in Mali," Matthews said.
The emotionally charged, daylong court proceedings provided a window into the lives of some of the country's most elite service members. Family, friends and colleagues of both Melgar and Matthews took stock of the contributions of each man and the fallout from that night.
Matthews also offered the first detailed public account of Melgar's death, which he described as a botched attempt to "embarrass" him over "slights" perceived by the other men.
Matthews said he joined the group in Mali's capital of Bamako only 36 hours before the incident in June 2017. He said colleagues quickly filled him in on their concerns about Melgar.
Among the perceived slights was an incident in which Melgar was driving his motorcycle to a party at a diplomatic embassy in the capital city. Two Marines were following in another vehicle before Melgar drove off, Matthews said.
Matthews suggested that the Marines felt Melgar had abandoned them in an unsafe city that's been the target of terrorist activity.