Man Accused of Threatening Carson City Judge Pleads Not Guilty - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Man Accused of Threatening Carson City Judge Pleads Not Guilty

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The Carson City District Attorney's Office says the man accused of threatening a Carson City judge has pleaded not guilty to three felony charges. His trial is scheduled to start on May 30. 

John Aston pleaded not guilty on three felony counts of Discharging a Firearm into an occupied structure, Fourth Degree Arson and Aggravated Stalking. 

Earlier this month, Judge John Tatro and his wife, Katherine testified against against Aston at his preliminary hearing more than four years after Aston allegedly shot a gun through their front door.

"I was shaking. I thought we were going to be killed," Katherine Tatro said.

"Shear terror. I mean, bullets came in the front door at 4:30 in the morning," John Tatro said.

Detective Brad Norman arrested Aston on January 31, for identity theft. He testified that Aston was using Ronald Bailey's identity to get medical treatment at the VA Hospital in Reno. Aston is also a veteran. Norman found two handguns and a newspaper article about the Tatro case in Aston's possession during the arrest. 

"I told him it was odd that he had this," Norman said. "Do you have some problem with the judge? Why did you keep this article? He said, as I recall, that the judge was an asshole and he thought he was a jerk, and he mistreated him in a traffic case that he had."

Aston went before Judge Tatro in 2005, and again in 2011. The shooting incident happened Dec. 11, 2012. In December of 2014, the a Christmas card was sent to the Tatros that said "You Will Die". Six months later, someone placed two fire bombs in front of their garage, consisting of two milk jugs filled with rubbing alcohol and other flammable liquid. Several burnt matches were also left behind. Investigators say Aston's DNA was found on the card, jugs and matches. The Tatros installed 12 surveillance cameras, were always on the lookout, and started carrying guns to protect themselves.

"I'd be cautious before I'd go to a Walmart, or you know always look around, always conscious of what's around you because I didn't know who it was," John Tatro said. "I knew somebody was upset. It dramatically changed our lives."

"You always kind of feel safe in your own home and that was kind of stripped away," Katherine Tatro said. "Ever since Mr. Aston has been in jail, we can breathe."

Aston was already sentenced to prison after being convicted of felony weapons charges from 2011.

Judge James Wilson previously sentenced 74-year-old Aston to prison terms of 12 to 32 months and 16 to 40 months on the two offenses to be served consecutively. The Carson City District Attorney's Office says the sentences follow Aston’s convictions in June for carrying a loaded revolver concealed in his waistband without a concealed carry permit and for having a sawed-off shotgun in his vehicle. Officers say they also discovered three additional firearms, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, holsters, knives, cash, binoculars, and a map of northwestern Nevada in Aston’s car following his 2011 arrest. The convictions in this case are not related to the accusations involving Judge Tatro.

Officials say that over the course of the last four years, a multi-agency task force developed, led by the Carson City Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Public Safety Investigations Division, to investigate this matter. During the past 18 months, officers went door to door throughout the region, and in some cases to California, to inspect DMV registered vehicles that had any similarity to the suspect vehicle that had been identified. They say that due to a tip that was provided on February 1st, the vehicle was located inside of a long term rental storage locker in Sparks, NV.  Since then, investigators say they have been coming through evidence retrieved from the locker, and other locations, that directly linked Aston to the offenses.  On Wednesday, investigators say they were confident that sufficient evidence had been analyzed and received in order to forward the case for formal charges.  

Here is a link to the story from February regarding the latest details on this case

(Carson City District Attorney's Office contributed to this report.)

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