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Navy Scandal: An Affair, a Fight, a Drowned Body

Former Gitmo base commander John Nettleton pleads not guilty to obstruction charges
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2019 12:15 PM CST
Navy Capt. John R. Nettleton, then-commanding officer of Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, speaks at a Battle of Midway commemoration ceremony on June 3, 2014.   (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jacob Goff/U.S. Navy via AP)

(Newser) – A former commander of Guantanamo Bay's naval base is facing a long list of charges related to the death of a man whose wife he was accused of having an affair with. Capt. John R. Nettleton, 53, was indicted this week on charges of obstruction, falsifying records, and making false statements, stemming from an investigation into the 2015 death of naval exchange worker Christopher Tur, reports the Washington Post. Tur's drowned body was found floating in island waters days after the two men were in a pair of confrontations, first at a restaurant party, then at Nettleton's home, on Jan. 9, 2015, according to an indictment. When Tur couldn't be found the next day, authorities say Nettleton helped organize a search, but gave the restaurant as the man's last known location, reports the Navy Times.

Tur had reportedly confronted Nettleton at the party, then followed him home, where they fought. A text from Nettleton's daughter: "Um well my dad’s really drunk and some other dude is here and they’re like getting into a fight downstairs and I’m hiding.” Authorities say Nettleton initially refused to allow a search of his backyard, where a paper towel with traces of Tur's blood was found near a pier on Jan. 11. Like Tur's wife, Nettleton went on to deny the affair they had "in or about 2014," even after a tipster notified the Navy's inspector general that the pair were "engaging in physical contact" at the party, according to the indictment. Nettleton has pleaded not guilty to all 10 counts, per First Coast News. The Navy Times reports it's unclear why he was charged in civilian court and not in the military's criminal justice system. He is still in the Navy, though no longer a commander. (Read more Navy stories.)

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