Former Gitmo commander charged with hindering probe into death of civilian

The victim had accused Capt. John Nettleton of having an affair with his wife.
Image: A U.S. military guard tower at Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba on Sept. 16, 2010.
A U.S. military guard tower at Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba on Sept. 16, 2010.John Moore / Getty Images file

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By Courtney Kube and Rich Schapiro

The former commanding officer at Guantanamo Bay has been charged with obstruction of justice and making false statements in connection with the death of a civilian who had confronted the commander over a possible extramarital affair with his wife.

Capt. John Nettleton, 53, is accused of misleading investigators after he got into a fight with Christopher Tur, 42, who was later found drowned in the waters off Guantanamo Bay in January 2015.

The incident kicked off at a party at the Guantanamo officers' club, where Tur yelled at his spouse and Nettleton, accusing them of having an affair, according to the indictment.

Nettleton, on the advice of a colleague, returned home. Not long after, an allegedly drunken Tur showed up at Nettleton's house, sparking a drawn-out fight. Tur was injured in the altercation, the indictment says.

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Other Gitmo residents reported Tur missing on the following day, Jan. 10, 2015.

When questioned by investigators, Nettleton falsely claimed that he last saw Tur at the officers' club, prosecutors said. Nettleton said nothing about the fight at his house or the allegation that he was having an affair with Tur's wife, according to prosecutors.

Tur, a civilian loss prevention safety manager at a general store, was found dead on Jan. 11. He had moved to Guantanamo Bay with his wife and two children in 2011, the indictment says.

A federal grand jury in Florida returned an indictment Tuesday charging Nettleton in relation to Tur's death. In addition to the obstruction of justice and making false statement counts, Nettleton was charged with concealing information and falsifying records.

An attorney for Capt. Nettleton said his client "is innocent of all charges, and looks forward to the opportunity to tell his side of the story."

Colby Vokey, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel and military criminal attorney, said his client "has had this thing hanging over his head way too long."

Nettleton has been in the Navy for 30 years next month, serving most of his time as a helicopter pilot.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service declined to comment citing the ongoing investigation.