January 28, 2019 – On Jan. 8, a federal grand jury sitting in the Middle District of Florida returned an indictment charging a U.S. Navy Captain with obstruction of justice, concealment, falsifying records, and false statements during the investigation of the death of a civilian at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (“GTMO”) in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division made the announcement.
Captain John Nettleton, 53, of Jacksonville, Florida, was charged with two counts of obstruction of justice related to his actions during the Navy’s investigation of the death of Christopher M. Tur, the Loss Prevention Safety Manager at GTMO’s Naval Exchange. Nettleton was also charged with one count of concealing information, two counts of falsifying records, and five counts of making false statements.
Tur, 42, was found drowned in the waters of Guantanamo Bay on Jan. 11, 2015. An autopsy revealed that Tur had suffered injuries prior to his drowning. At the time of Tur’s death, Nettleton was the Commanding Officer of GTMO.
According to the indictment, Tur confronted Nettleton at a party at the GTMO Officers’ Club on Jan. 9, 2015 with allegations that Nettleton and Tur’s spouse had engaged in an extramarital affair. Later that same evening, Tur went to Nettleton’s residence and a physical altercation ensued that left Tur injured. Tur was reported missing on Jan. 10, 2015 by other residents of GTMO. Despite knowing that Tur had been at his residence and injured during the altercation, Nettleton falsely informed his superior officers and other Navy personnel that Tur had last been seen at the Officer’s Club the night before, the indictment alleges. Nettleton also allegedly did not report that Tur had accused him of the extramarital affair, that Nettleton and Tur had engaged in a physical altercation at Nettleton’s residence, or that Tur had been injured. The indictment further alleges that Nettleton persisted in concealment and false statements as the search for Tur and then the investigation into the circumstances of his death continued.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. It merely alleges that crimes have been committed. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and is being prosecuted by Deputy Chief Todd Gee and Trial Attorney Peter Nothstein of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section. Former Public Integrity Section Trial Attorney Mark Cipolletti also assisted in the investigation.