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Fate of former Gitmo commander accused of lying in death investigation now in jury’s hands

John Nettleton is accused of obstruction of justice and lying to investigators in death of Chris Tur

Nettleton facing charges of lying and obstruction of justice
Nettleton facing charges of lying and obstruction of justice

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Closing arguments wrapped up Wednesday in the trial of retired Navy Captain John Nettleton.

Nettleton is facing multiple charges including obstruction of justice and lying to investigators in connection to the death and disappearance of Christopher Tur at Guantanamo Bay in 2015.

Nettleton and Tur got into a fight two nights before the Coast Guard found Tur’s body floating in the bay.

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During closing arguments Wednesday, government prosecutors focused on what they say are examples of Nettleton lying, concealing and misleading Navy officials throughout the course of the investigation into Tur’s disappearance and death.

Nettleton has not been charged in connection with Tur’s death, but prosecutors believe his alleged deception was fueled by a secret Nettleton was trying to hide — an affair with Tur’s wife. During testimony, Nettleton admitted he slept with Tur’s wife in Jacksonville in 2014.

The defense, on the other hand, focused on details that they say the government didn’t want to focus on, such as Nettleton ordering the search for Tur, organizing transportation for NCIS investigators and the medical examiner to get to GITMO and testimony from the woman who claims she was the last person to see Tur alive and uninjured after he left Nettleton’s house.

Nettleton spent about two hours on the stand Wednesday morning during cross-examination.

Some moments were tense as Nettleton was questioned about the information he shared with NCIS investigators in the hours and days after Tur was found dead as well as the information he did not share, including a drunken fight inside his home the night before Tur went missing.

One sticking point related to Tur’s accusations of an affair with his wife and the words Tur used to make those claims. Nettleton’s memory of the words used differs from what witnesses said they heard the night he went missing.

Nettleton stood by his memory.

“I am not lying…. You can try to twist it however you want,” Nettleton testified.

Prosecutors also showed the jury a video from Jan. 20, 2015 when captain Nettleton was at NCIS for an interview.

In the video, investigators inform Nettleton he is suspected of adultery and involvement in Tur’s death. At that point, Nettleton tells the NCIS agents, “I am going to invoke my rights."

Nettleton goes on to say he will not continue the interview if those are the allegations.

Tur’s death remains classified as undetermined.

Deliberations are set to start Thursday morning after the jury gets their instructions.

About the Author:

Florida-born multi-media journalist pays special attention to issues in St. Johns County.