After a long night in Mali's capital, two Navy SEALs and two Marine Raiders penetrated into the space Army staff Sgt. Logan J. Melgar's room with a sledgehammer.
Armed with tape, they had a target, two of the alleged assailants recalled: teach the Green Beret soldier a lesson on the way to a party at the French Embassy. It was the last chapter in a feud between Melgar and the SEALs, who had dealt with allegations of careless behavior that could jeopardize their mission.
One of the SEALs, Petty Officer 1st Class, Anthony E. DeDolph, a former professional mixed-martial arts fighter and Purple Heart recipient, jumped on Melgar and put him on his bed sometime after 5 in the morning, two of the men said with the authorities. The other SEAL, Chief Petty Officer Adam C. Matthews, grabbed Melgar's legs as the two Marines tried to shoot them down.
They moved to Melgar's wrists, but realized that he had stopped breathing.
We immediately started to revive SSGT Melgar, "recalls Matthews in a written account of the events that night, which he recently signed and submitted to the military. "He did not stay responsive, so we put him down again and I started to save breaths while the tape was cut off from him."
"His chest rose and fell from my breath, and during one breath I saw red-tinted spit coming out of his mouth and slapping my face."
All four men face the same charges, including Crimes, Prohibition of Murder, Disability and Hazing on US Military Documents on June 4, 2017, Death of Melgar, a member of the 3rd Special Forces Group, previously stationed twice in Afghanistan.
The case was criminal Misbehavior allegedly committed by US elite forces conducting secretive campaigns against Islamist militants in several countries, including some associated with Al Qaeda.
DeDolph and Matthews, another Purple Heart Recipients, were members of the anti-terrorism unit, commonly known as SEAL Team 6. The other two men, Gunnery Sgt. Mario Madera-Rodriguez and Staff Sgt. Kevin Maxwell was assigned to the Marine Corps Special Operations Command.
Some aspects of the case, including the names of the defendants and allegations of cover-up, have been reported. However, hundreds of pages of legal records received by the Washington Post provide new information about the events surrounding the fatal attack.
The documents disclose a veil of secrecy about a culture in which women in the city of Bamako were common despite alcohol restrictions and warnings about kidnapping and terrorist threats.
In "factual determinations" – in reality, reports sent to the authorities and not previously reported by the news media – Matthews and Maxwell confirm their role in Melgar's death. The lawyers of both men said that plea talks are in progress for their clients, as the Daily Beast reported in March, but refused to discuss most of the specifics.
Maxwell's lawyer Brian Bouffard said the men never intended Harm Melgar.
Grover Baxley, Matthews attorney, confirmed that his client has entered into a preliminary agreement with the government in which his client pleads guilty to fewer charges, including harassment and assault. His case is being referred to a special court-martial, Baxley said. It is considered to be less severe than a general court-martial and limits the sentence to a maximum of one year in prison.
The lawyers of DeDolph and Madera-Rodriguez did not respond to a request for comment.
No one else is charged in the case, said Elizabeth Baker, a US military spokeswoman. She refused to comment on many details in the documents and referred to the open court cases. A hearing in the case was scheduled in December and March and postponed both times. There are no additional appointments planned, she said.
The documents left unanswered some of the questions raised in earlier news reports, including the question of what could possibly have led to male-to-male friction.
"It's still a tragic situation, but the motivations are behind What happened that night is not what was reported," said Baxley.
Allegations and Rage
The documents describe the Months of tensions between Melgar and DeDolph and another SEAL that has not been charged . Melgar and the SEALs lived in the same house, while the Marines lived a few blocks away.
To ban their interactions, banished the SEALs Melgar and another Special Forces soldier from their operations center, another soldier who also lived there. Later, he told the Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents, according to US military documents.
In the weeks leading up to the attack, Melgar brought Foreigners to the residence, the other soldier said, adding that Melgar had acted "frat-like" and acted in a way that she did both "uncharged" because of events in the US embassy. The Washington Post does not cite several other Americans who were not charged with a crime for safety concerns.
"Logan, Tony, everyone had a turnaround," said the other soldier over-drinking, in recognition that he also occasionally consumed alcohol.
Previous media reports say that Melgar did not drink.
Melgar, in turn, had accused the SEALs of bringing prostitutes into the home, a detail first reported by The Daily Beast last year. The other in-house soldier, who was questioned by investigators about the allegation of prostitution, refused to respond directly, but said that infidelity had occurred to some people living there, according to the documents.
Series of news that she handed over to the authorities.
"I hate her," Melgar told her.
She asked not to be contacted by reporters, US military officials said.
A plan takes shape
About beer and whiskey in the west. The Appaloosa bar and the nightclub called Byblos were discussed. The men discussed cheating Melgar, involved service agents and witnesses in front of investigators.
Melgar returned home several hours after leaving the other staff on his way to the French Embassy, saying he had made the right decision because it was a "high-class" event NCIS agents a few months later, according to NCIS documents. Melgar said he had drunk two or three beers there, the other soldier told the investigators.
Matthews testified in his statement that he and the other three men who had been charged with him were willing to rally him when he returned to the Navy. The Marines brought more tape and a sledgehammer from their homes nearby.
"The sledgehammer was not required to gain access to SSGT Melgar's room, but we used it because we felt that the noise involved would continue to surprise him," wrote Matthews, who spent a few days in Bamako.
Within a few minutes the situation was out of control.
The service staff attempted to resuscitate Melgar and then called a defibrillator and mouth-opening equipment with an emergency procedure in his throat. They considered calling an ambulance, but decided that it would take too long and took him to a nearby clinic. Melgar was pronounced dead there.
In the following hours, the men pored over a plan in which the SEALs would take the blame and say the Marines had not been in the room when DeDolph had put Melgar in a stranglehold.
The men also tried to cover their tracks in a different way. The other soldier posted with Melgar told the NCIS agent that he ordered one of the Marines to throw away the alcohol in the house, as each of the General Order no. 1 Underlying service member – who limits alcohol consumption – during use – would be "smoked" by authorities According to an NCIS report in court records.
In the mess, the crime scene was not completely sealed for hours, according to the documents. Scott Patterson, a State Department Deputy Regional Security Officer, entered Melgar's room while Madera-Rodriguez served as a witness. Patterson did not know that the Navy was later accused of being involved in death.
Jason Willis, Mali Regional Security Officer, told investigators that Matthews was "naked" with "blood on his hands" when he arrived at the clinic. DeDolph initially said the men had done wrestling, Willis told the investigators, but He had "walked up and down, been in shock, repeated and" not lucid. " DeDolph also had blood on his hands, Patterson told the investigators.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman declined to comment and cited the open cases.  In text messages included in The Post's investigation records, Madera-Rodriguez told an American woman who had drank with them that night that he "constantly thinks about Logan's family." DeDolph was "out of his head". After Melgar's death, he said.
The woman who worked with the US government in Mali recalled a conversation with DeDolph a few hours after the attack that morning.
"I had a moment alone with him at the table," she wrote. "He said he kills people for a living, but not Americans."