Suspect in judge threats guilty in unrelated weapons case

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) - A man suspected of threatening a Carson City justice of the peace was found guilty Thursday of unrelated felony weapons charges.

John Thomas Aston, 73, faces an Aug. 1 sentencing in Carson District Court on charges of carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a short-barreled shotgun, Carson District Attorney Jason Woodbury said. If Judge James Wilson runs the sentences consecutively, Aston faces up to nine years in prison.

Aston’s court-appointed lawyer could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, Aston still faces a July 10 preliminary hearing in Carson Justice Court on charges he sent threats to Justice of the Peace John Tatro, fired a shot at Tatro’s home and set milk jugs of alcohol on fire at Tatro’s home.

It appears Aston was angered by Tatro after appearing before him on a speeding ticket.

Carson City Sheriff’s Office Deputy Brett Bindley pulled over Aston on Jan. 30, 2011, for driving a vehicle with the wrong license plate on it. Aston, wearing a long trench coat, started getting out of the vehicle despite Bindley’s requests he stay in the vehicle, Woodbury said. At one point Aston reached for his waistband, Woodbury said. Bindley secured Aston, then found a 5-shot .44 Special revolver tucked in his waistband, Woodbury said. Bindley then also found the sawed-off shotgun and three other guns in the car and much ammo, including five coffee cans filled with ammo.

Aston was also carrying a map of Carson City and binoculars, Woodbury said.

Aston was arrested on the weapons charges but failed to appear in court and an arrest warrant was issued. Meanwhile, investigators could not find the suspect who was allegedly threatening Tatro. Then Aston was caught allegedly using a veteran’s identity to get medical care at the Reno Veteran’s Administration hospital.

Investigators found Aston has clippings of the Tatro case and searched a storage locker he had rented and found a Mercedes like that used in the firebombing attempt. Aston was initially booked for failure to appear on the 2011 firearms charges while investigators developed the Tatro case, including matching DNA evidence left on a threatening note sent to Tatro and on the firebomb milk jugs.