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Judge delays trial for Navy captain charged with hindering death probe

Ex-Guantanamo commander charged with concealing facts in 2015 case

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A federal judge has agreed to a delay for the trial of a Jacksonville Navy captain charged with hindering a death investigation.

Navy Capt. John Nettleton, a former commander of the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay who is now stationed at NAS Jacksonville, has been charged with obstructing justice and nine other offenses related to the 2015 death of a civilian who worked at the Cuban base.

Nettleton, 53, faces a 10-count federal indictment charging him with hindering the investigation into the death of 42-year-old Christopher Tur, who died while Nettleton was in charge of the base.

Thursday, Nettleton's attorney filed a motion asking to delay the trial from May 6 to January 2020. Friday, a federal judge signed an order changing the trial date to January 6, 2020.

The defense motion cited several reasons for the request, including the fact that the government spent four years investigating Nettleton prior to the indictment, and the fact that prosecutors have provided the defense team with more than 400,000 pages of discovery materials.

Earlier in the week, the judge held a status conference by phone with prosecutors and the defense. According to the motion, during that conference, prosecutors did not object to delaying the trial until the start of next year.

According to the joint motion filed last month that requested that status conference, the parties intend to continue discussions regarding a possible disposition, but the “defendant rejected the government’s last plea offer," which they say makes a trial likely and they’d like to set a firm date for the trial.

Prior to the February court filing, it was not known that a plea deal was offered and rejected by the Navy captain.