The parents of a Marine slain by a terrorist bomb in Afghanistan in 2010 are dumbfounded that the decorated Green Beret who killed the suspect is now being tried on murder charges.
“I think that’s crazy,” said David Kleinschmidt, stepfather of victim Sgt. Jeremy R. McQueary, a day after Friday’s revelation that former Special Forces commando Maj. Mathew Golsteyn could face the death penalty.
“I don’t understand why they are bringing this up again,” Kleinschmidt told The Post in a call to his home in Columbus, Ind.
“We were in a war — and things happen in war,” he said, adding, “personally, I think they should just drop [the charges] … I’m glad the guy is dead.”
Kleinschmidt’s stepson was 27 when a militant set off an explosion that killed him and another Marine, Lance Cpl. Larry M. Johnson, 19, at a bazaar in southern Afghanistan.
“Our rules that we have to follow are not the rules that the Taliban follows,” said McQueary’s mom, Deborah Kleinschmidt.
“So why punish our guy for something that the enemy is doing to us?”
The Army announced Friday that it has charged Golsteyn with premeditated murder for admittedly hunting down and killing the suspected bombmaker in Feb. 2010.
The suspect’s body was never found.
Golsteyn has maintained that he shot the militant over concerns about the safety of American soldiers — and of two Afghanistan men who defied the Taliban when they apprehended the suspect and turned him over to US forces.
“I’m sure his family has to be stressed out beyond belief,” the mom said of Golsteyn.
“And my heart goes out to them.”
If anything, Golsteyn may deserve a medal, not a murder rap, the stepfather said.
“I’m glad he found the guy,” he added. “I’m glad the guy’s dead because I don’t think he should have been in society.”
Reached Saturday afternoon at his home in Virginia, Golsteyn implied that events were transpiring quickly since Thursday, when he was informed of the charges.
“I only have 24 hours with family,” Golsteyn told The Post before declining comment on his case.
The two slain Marines had been working with Golsteyn’s Green Beret team in the Taliban-controlled town of Marjah.
After the bombing, Golsteyn, a Silver Star recipient, and his fellow soldiers gathered intelligence and canvassed nearby homes in search of the terrorist.
The next day, a pair of Afghan men who were cooperating with the US turned over a bound suspect they said was responsible for the Marines’ deaths — but the man was freed almost immediately for lack of evidence.
“There’s limits on how long you can hold guys,” Golsteyn told Fox News in a 2016 interview. “You realize quickly that you make things worse.”
“It is an inevitable outcome that people who are cooperating with coalition forces, when identified, will suffer some terrible torture or be killed.”
Golsteyn previously had been found guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer and was discharged.
Additional reporting by Anthony Izaguirre
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