DOJ recommends at least 3 years in prison for retired Navy Capt. John Nettleton

Former Gitmo commander could learn his fate next month

John Nettleton (right) leaves the Federal Courthouse in Jacksonville with one of his defense attorneys. (Joe Drumm/WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Department of Justice has recommended that retired Navy Capt. John Nettleton be sentenced to more than three years in prison on charges stemming from the 2015 death of a civilian employee at Guantanamo Bay – the base Nettleton commanded.

In January, a federal jury in Jacksonville convicted Nettleton on six of the eight charges he faced. The charges included obstruction of justice, concealment of material facts, falsification of records and making false statements. The charges stem from the death and disappearance of Christopher Tur. Nettleton and Tur were in a fight two nights before the Coast Guard found Tur’s body floating in the bay.

In a sentencing memo filed Thursday, the DOJ recommended Nettleton serve between 37 and 46 months. The defense has yet to file its recommendation.

“There is no question that John R. Nettleton (“Defendant”) misled, concealed, and lied about facts he knew regarding the disappearance and death of Christopher Tur (“Tur”),” the memo states. “Although the Defendant was not tried for or convicted of involvement in the death of Tur, the inescapable reality is that if the Defendant did what he should have done—what his legal duty and common human decency commanded—and reported his interactions with Tur when they happened, Tur may still be alive today.”

The COVID-19 pandemic led to multiple delays in the federal sentencing of Nettleton. His sentencing was set for August, but it has since moved to Oct. 8.

It was the third time Nettleton’s hearing has been delayed. Following his conviction, the sentencing was set for April 23, but prosecutors later asked for a delay due to scheduling issues. The hearing was then set for June 16. In May, defense attorneys asked for a delay, citing travel concerns related to the pandemic, leading to the August sentencing date.

Motions filed by Nettleton’s attorneys following the trial, seeking a judgment of acquittal and a new trial, were both previously denied by the judge.