Two US Marine Raiders and a Navy Corpsman are facing general courts-martial for the death of a retired US Army Special Forces veteran who was working as a contractor in Iraq.
Gunnery Sgt. Joshua Negron, Gunnery Sgt. Daniel Draher and Chief Petty Officer Eric Gilmet face a series of charges, including involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide, obstructing justice and orders violations.
The charges come in the aftermath of the death of Rick Anthony Rodriguwz, a former SF master sergeant who reportedly got into a fight with the men outside of an Erbil nightclub on January 1.
“At this time, charges against three members of MARSOC in connection with the death of Mr. Rodriguez have been referred to a general court-martial,” the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command told the Marine Corps Times in an email statement. “During this process, it is imperative that the rights of the service members are protected, and the integrity of the military justice system is maintained. We are committed to ensuring this process is conducted in a fair and impartial manner.”
The three servicemembers were involved in an altercation that took place after Rogriguez had been escorted out of the club by security, and it appears that the former operator had initiated the physical contact.
Eventually, Rodriguez was knocked out and turned on his side as he was escorted back to base.
“They basically checked him out, ensure he was breathing and everything looked okay with him,” Stackhouse said. “(Gilmet) stayed with him quite a bit of time, the guy was clearly intoxicated. They didn’t want him to aspirate on his own vomit.”
Gilmet observed Rodriguez for some time until he went to get food from the dining facility. After returning, he was told by a roommate that Rodriguez was unresponsive. Rodriguez was transported to Landstuhl Hospital in Germany, where he later died.
Draher expressed his disappointment over being charged by the military.
“I am disappointed that my command decided to charge me and my colleagues with Mr. Rodriguez’s death,” he stated. ”What happened on January 1, 2019 was an accident, not brought on by our actions – but unfortunately by the actions of Mr. Rodriguez. As we have said from the beginning, and is captured on video, Mr. Rodriguez attacked me in a drunken state. My colleagues and I reacted only in self-defense, once the fight was over it was me and my colleagues – not his friends- who took him back to our base for safety. The fact that Mr. Rodriguez passed away is nothing short of tragic and I wish his family and friends did not have to feel the pain and sorrow that I am sure they do. In the end, I have to trust the system in which I find myself. I would have much preferred to have had the trust and support of my command.”
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