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5th Navy sailor charged in connection to death investigation of fellow sailor

Posted at 2:27 PM, Oct 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-12 20:29:13-04

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (KGTV) - A fifth Navy corpsman has been charged in connection to the death and alleged cover-up of another corpsman on a Southern California military base. A corpsman is a type of medic.

ABC 10News was inside a Camp Pendleton courtroom on Tuesday morning where HM2 Edmond Maebane was handed down charges in connection to the 2019 shooting death of fellow corpsman HM3 Michael Vincent De Leon.

“It's been a cover-up. Right now, I'm not going to backtrack it. This has been a cover-up,” De Leon’s father, Jose, told ABC 10News just after the hearing where HM2 Maebane appeared in court to be formally charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and obstruction of justice by giving false information to a 911 operator, according to a prosecutor.

Wife Sandra De Leon added, “To see the person [who] was the last one that saw my son alive is not easy.”

The De Leons said that their son captured Snapchat video before he was shot during a party with other corpsmen at a house on the Twentynine Palms base, located northeast of San Diego.

The prosecution said that the corpsmen were drinking and dry-firing guns before the fatal round was fired.

The De Leons claimed that the corpsmen tried to conceal the truth after ABC 10News confirmed through sources with close military ties that their son's death was being investigated as a homicide, not a suicide like they said that they were first led to believe.

This summer, HM1 Ryan Dini was found guilty, in part, of dereliction of duty resulting in death. He was sentenced to a hundred days in the brig and a rank reduction from E-6 to E-5, resulting in a drop in his pay.

HM2 Mason Williams was found guilty of dereliction of duty and disorderly conduct, dropping his rank from E-4 to E-1 with a pay reduction.

In July, the Marines confirmed that two other corpsmen were also charged in connection to the death but that scheduled proceedings were not publicly accessible at the time.

The judge advocate who oversaw Tuesday's hearing will now take time to review submissions from the defense and prosecution and decide whether he recommends that the charges be dismissed or sustained.