Day two of the John Aston preliminary hearing focused around the evidence collected in the three incidents of threats against a Carson City judge.
Aston is being charged with disarming a firearm inside an occupied residence, arson in the 4th degree and aggravated stalking for several harassment incidents against Carson City Judge John Tatro. Aston is accused of shooting two rounds into Tatro’s front door, sending him a Christmas card with the note “You Will Die” inside, and attempting to ignite an incendiary device at the Tatro house.
The state brought in several witnesses from the Carson City Sheriff’s Office to establish the different evidence items that were present and collected from the shooting, death threats and attempted arson events allegedly committed by Aston.
Deputy Jarrod Adams testified to collecting the threatening Christmas card in December 2013.
“Kathy (Tatro) was very upset and Judge Tatro was visibly upset,” Adams said.
The defense questioned Adams heavily on his collection techniques, from the storage of his collection gloves to the layout of the evidence vault.
A majority of the day was spent on Carson City Sheriff’s Crime Scene Investigator Jason Olson. Olson collected and photographed the evidence in the arson as well as the evidence found in Aston’s Sparks storage unit.
Olson testified the incendiary devices were filled with flammable rubbing alcohol, newspaper clippings, paper and matches.
He also introduced the evidence found in Aston’s storage unit including a rifle, shotgun and the suspect vehicle seen in the surveillance videos. Olson said they also found notebooks filled with notes on the Tatros, phone numbers and addresses along with vehicle makes and license plates.
The defense also questioned Olson in his collection techniques, documentation of the evidence and the storage and the transportation of evidence.
Carson City Detective Steven Olsen also testified to video evidence collected that allegedly depicted footage of Aston placing the incendiary device as well as traffic cameras that tracked his movements in and out of Carson. Sgt. David LeGros also testified to collecting DNA swabs from Aston when he was arrested.
The firearm tool mark examiner from the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office forensic unit testified to testing the bullets found at the shooting at the Tatros in 2012. Steve Shinmei told the court he was able to match marks with the bullets to a firearm database to originally narrow down the type of weapon used in the shooting. Shinmei said he tested four different bullets to determine the marks were made by a Winchester rifle, which was the same rifle later located in Aston’s storage unit.
Lastly, the state brought in Ryan Luck, a former employee of the storage unit in Sparks where Aston stored his things. He testified Aston accessed the storage unit, where Aston’s vehicle was stored, the night of the shooting and arson.
The preliminary hearing is scheduled to continue to Friday where lead detective Sam Hatley will testify. District Attorney Jason Woodbury said the purpose of the day two’s testimonies were to establish all of the evidence so Hatley’s testimony could smoothly recount all the facts and evidence of the case.