Nearly a decade after the alleged crime and six months after official charges, an arraignment date has been set for an Army Green Beret major who faces murder and related charges in the killing of an alleged Taliban bomb maker.
Maj. Mathew Golsteyn faces arraignment on a murder charge Thursday at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Golsteyn was a captain at the time of his 2010 deployment to Afghanistan with 3rd Special Forces Group during some of the bloodiest fighting in the war.
Neither Golsteyn nor his attorney immediately responded to requests for comment.
Golsteyn waived his right to an Article 32, or preliminary hearing. That hearing was scheduled in March. No trial date has yet been set.
Officials would not comment on what bearing the guilty plea might have on the Green Beret case.
The most recent development in Golsteyn’s lengthy case came in early May when the lead investigator on Golsteyn’s case pleaded guilty to stolen valor charges, admitting he had two specifications of violating Article 107, false official statement and three specifications of violating Article 134, wearing of unauthorized insignia, badges and ribbons, according to a statement by Lt. Col. Mike Burns, Fort Bragg Public Affairs.
Sgt. 1st Class Mark A. Delacruz had worn the Air Assault Badge, Pathfinder Badge and Purple Heart medal, none of which he had earned. He also falsely submitted a Purple Heart in his official military file and certified the file was correct when he turned it in for an E-7 and above promotion board.
Initially, Golsteyn earned a Silver Star medal, the nation’s third-highest award for valor for actions he took tracking down a sniper who was targeting his troops and assisted a wounded Afghan soldier while also coordinating multiple airstrikes.
He was awarded the medal in 2011 at Fort Bragg. But it was around that time that he also began the interview process for a job with the CIA. In that interview he admitted to killing a Taliban bombmaker. Army investigators later claimed that he told CIA interviewers he had shot the unarmed man and then he and two other soldiers retrieved the body and destroyed it in a burn pit on base.
But Golsteyn has vehemently denied that account, saying Army investigators took a small portion of a lengthy interview and misconstrued what was said to fit a narrative bent on charging him.
Golsteyn has said in media interviews with Army Times and other outlets that he did kill a bombmaker in an ambush but that it was a lawful killing. The alleged bombmaker had discovered the identity of a village elder who had informed coalition members about the bombmaker’s activities and feared for his life, Golsteyn said.
He cleared a board of inquiry with no criminal charges, only a recommendation that he be discharged.
His Silver Star medal and Special Forces tab were both stripped from him following the investigation that closed in 2014.
Golsteyn has been working a civilian job, representing the International Association of Firefighters. But after he was charged in December he was required to report to Fort Bragg. Since January he’s been living in the Fort Bragg area, reporting in twice daily as he has awaited the Army’s decision.
Soon after arriving, Golsteyn began a letter-writing process up his chain of command asking that the charges be dismissed.
He received a seemingly promising note via President Donald Trump when the president tweeted in mid-December, shortly after his charging, that he would “review” the case against the major.