A U.S. Army Green Beret has been charged with murder for allegedly killing a local man while serving in Afghanistan in 2010. According to reports, he described the deceased as a terrorist suspect.
Per a report on Thursday from the Hill, Major Matthew Golsteyn was charged with “premeditated murder — a death penalty offense.” Philip Stackhouse, the lawyer of the accused, took to Twitter and announced that Golsteyn has been charged with murder.
“This morning we learned that the Army charged MAJ Matt Golsteyn w/ premeditated murder, a death penalty offense for allegedly killing a Taliban bomb-maker during combat operations in Marjah, Afghanistan.”
The verdict was given to Golsteyn after a series of investigations carried out by the U.S. military since 2011, per ABC News.
Golsteyn said that he suspected the deceased to be a Taliban bomb-maker and said that when he made the move, he didn’t “violate rules of engagement in the shooting death.”
The ABC News report further detailed that Golsteyn was asked to take a polygraph test in 2011 while applying for a job with the CIA. During his job interview, he said that he, together with another U.S. soldier deployed in Afghanistan, took the alleged Taliban suspect off-base, shot him and buried his remains.
His confession led to the first round of investigation but no action was taken against him due to a lack of evidence. However, in a 2016 interview with Fox News, Golsteyn explained how he killed the suspected bomb-maker. The interview prompted a second investigation into the killing.
According to an article by the BBC, Golsteyn’s attorney Stackhouse said that he would “relentlessly” defend his client against the charges.” The Hill also quoted Stackhouse as stating the following.
“Major Golsteyn is a humble servant-leader who saved countless lives, both American and Afghan, and has been recognised repeatedly for his valorous actions.”
As detailed by the Hill’s report, Golsteyn served as a captain in the U.S. Army during his deployment in Afghanistan. He received a Silver Star for his services — the third-highest award for valor — after he assisted with tracking down a sniper who targeted his troops. Golsteyn also helped an injured Afghan soldier.
According to a report by the Fayetteville Observer, Golsteyn “led about 80 troops in a four-hour firefight” in February 2010 in Marjah, a Taliban stronghold.
“He repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire as he helped evacuate a wounded Afghan soldier and directed airstrikes against the Taliban,” the above report added.
His accolade was later upgraded to Distinguished Service Cross — the second-highest award for valor — the report said, quoting the Army Times. However, as his confessions sparked an investigation, he was stripped of his awards in 2014. At the time, there were no formal charges against him.