- Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator Adam Matthews pleaded guilty to charges related to the 2017 hazing death of US Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar in May.
- Five months earlier, Matthews met Melgar’s widow at a gun show-related party in Las Vegas, The Daily Beast first reported.
- Witnesses told Navy investigators that Matthews did not reveal who he was, according to military documents reviewed by The Washington Post.
- The witnesses also described Matthews’ conversation as “cosy” and “flirtatious,” The Post reported. The next day, the Navy SEAL reportedly sent text messages to Michelle Melger, according to The Daily Beast.
- Grover Baxley, an attorney for Matthews, told The Post that Michelle and Matthews “unintentionally met briefly” at the gun show, adding that it was an “innocent coincidence with zero romantic intent by either individual.”
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A Navy SEAL who pleaded guilty to charges related to the hazing death of US Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar made contact with his widow months before he was convicted, according to witnesses in multiplenews reports published this week.
Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator Adam Matthews pleaded guilty in May to hazing and assaulting Melgar. Matthews was one of four special operations troops charged in the case.
Melgar, a 34-year-old Green Beret of the 3rd Special Forces Group, died in an isolated outpost in Mali in 2017. Prosecutors claim he was killed after one of the SEALS held him in a choke hold, while the others tried to tie him with duct tape. His death was classified as “homicide by asphyxiation” by investigators.
In January, five months before his conviction, Matthews attended a party affiliated with a firearms trade show in Las Vegas and came across Michelle, Melgar’s widow, according to The Daily Beast. Matthews asked Michelle if she was lost and told her his name was “Mike,” one of Melgar’s friends who was at the show reportedly said.
Witnesses told Navy investigators that Matthews did not reveal who he was, military documents reviewed by The Washington Post said. The witnesses also described Matthews’ conversation as “cosy” and “flirtatious.”
Both The Post and The Beast reported that witnesses recall Matthews, whose real identity was still reportedly unknown to Michelle, bringing up Melgar’s death in conversation.
The two gave each other their phone numbers, according to both news organisations. The next day, the Navy SEAL reportedly sent text messages, which were reviewed by The Beast. According to The Beast’s report, Matthews later apologised to Michelle through a text, calling the situation a “misunderstanding.” Michelle reportedly blocked his number.
Grover Baxley, an attorney for Matthews, told The Post that Michelle and Matthews “unintentionally met briefly” at the gun show, adding that it was an “innocent coincidence with zero romantic intent by either individual.”
Baxley noted his client used a pseudonym because special operations troops never “give their real first names when they meet a stranger.”
Another witness claimed Matthews was shocked after discovering Michelle was Melgar’s widow, The Post reported.
Matthews, one of two Navy SEALs who were charged in the case, was sentenced to one year in prison and a reduced rank.
“On June 4, 2017, the Navy expected me to lead,” Matthews said during his trial in May. “I have carried the weight of Sgt. Melgar’s death every minute of every day since that night in Mali.”
“This was my fault,” he added. “I humbly accept whatever punishment you think is warranted.”
During Matthews’ trial, Michelle described Melgar’s death as “suffocating” and said she would forgive the SEAL.
Melgar’s mother, Nitza, called Matthews a “murderer” and said she could not forgive him.
“Logan’s blood will never wash off you,” Nitza said. “You are a disgrace to your Purple Heart. May God have mercy on your soul.”
“You stole him from us,” Nitza added. “When Logan died, we all died, and I really wish you were going to prison for the rest of your life.”
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