Man questioned in relation to Judge Tatro threat investigation

The Carson City Sheriff’s Office detained a possible suspect involved in the threats investigation against Judge John Tatro.

Sheriff Ken Furlong said Thursday a suspect is in the Carson City Jail who could have information regarding the four year old case.

No arrest has been made yet for the threats investigation.

On Wednesday, Carson City Sheriff’s Detectives and Department of Public Safety Investigators received information that an inmate at the Washoe County Sheriff’s Detention Center was being held on a contempt of court warrant out of Carson City. The tip suggested that the inmate, identified as 74-year-old John Aston of Sparks, had information on the threats made against the judge.

Aston was transported to the Carson City Jail on the contempt of court warrant and was not able to provide any substantial information on the investigation.

Throughout Wednesday and Thursday, investigators have been interviewing area residents and searching for information in Sparks, Reno and Lake Tahoe.

In December 2012, Tatro’s residence was the target of shots fired through his front door in the early morning. In December 2013, Tatro received death threats on a Christmas card in the mail that said “You Will Die.” In May 2015, a firebomb was placed at the judge’s residence, however it failed to ignite.

The Carson City District Attorney’s Office obtained a DNA warrant to try and identify the suspect. This type of warrant is rarely issued and is based on the DNA marker evidence collected at two of the three incidents at Tatro’s residence, however no known suspect could be identified in law enforcement associated DNA databases. The warrant still remains nameless today.

On Thursday morning, investigators assembled a task force, along with Carson City District Attorney Jason Woodbury, to review information obtained and to coordinate investigative leads in the case. Processing and analysis of the information and evidence collected is anticipated to be presented to the District Attorney next week.

Details on specific evidence collected is not being released, though Furlong said sheriff’s deputies did find a vehicle of similar make, model and description as a vehicle sought in connection with the crimes was located Wednesday night in a storage locker in Sparks.

Furlong also reported that the Sheriff’s Office records show two prior contacts with Aston. He was cited for a traffic offense in 2005 and arrested in 2011 for weapons related offenses, including carrying a concealed weapon, and possession of a sawed off shotgun. The weapons charges ultimately resulted in the contempt of court warrant that Aston was served on Wednesday.

Several local, state and federal agencies were involved in this investigation, committing thousands of man-hours, Furlong said. He also stated law enforcement officials are humbled by the hundreds of cooperative residents in the Reno and Sparks area and the media agencies who have assisted over the years to help identify a suspect.


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