NewsLocal NewsSan Diego News


Navy medic backs out of involuntary manslaughter plea, case now goes to trial

Posted at 6:00 PM, Feb 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 21:07:13-05

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (KGTV) - On Tuesday, a Navy corpsman backed out of a plea agreement for his alleged connection to the 2019 shooting death of fellow corpsman, HM3 Michael De Leon. A corpsman is a type of medic.

“This is not what we expected,” said Jose De Leon. He and his wife, Sandra, spoke to ABC 10News just after HM2 Edmond Maebane’s hearing inside a Camp Pendleton courthouse, which suddenly shifted from a plea deal to an arraignment over charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

“Now, we're looking at several more months of hearings,” cried Sandra.

The judge said that he had concerns that HM2 Maebane didn't actually want to plead guilty, after having met with him and his counsel earlier in the day.

The trial has been scheduled for June.

“I don't know if we're going to have justice or not but I look forward to a jury trial,” said Jose.

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.

Last 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.

Last 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.