Tatro suspect sentenced on felony weapons charges
Special to the Nevada Appeal
The man accused of firing shots into the home of Carson City Judge John Tatro, and later attempting to firebomb his residence, was sentenced to prison following his conviction on felony weapons charges from 2011.
John Thomas Aston, 73, received prison terms of 12 to 32 months and 16 to 40 months on the two offenses, to be served consecutively. 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 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 Tatro.
Carson City District Attorney Jason Woodbury and Assistant D.A. Kristin Luis prosecuted the case. Bill Murphy, chief trial deputy for the Nevada Public Defender, represented Aston.
Woodbury urged Wilson to send Aston to prison, stating Aston “created an extremely dangerous situation” by “actively resisting” a law enforcement officer while armed with loaded firearms. He also emphasized Aston’s six-year evasion of a bench warrant issued after he jumped bail in the case, arguing every day during those six years was an opportunity to do the right thing and turn himself in to face the charges.
Aston’s attorney asked for lenience, saying he was just confused. Murphy said Aston was trying to cooperate with deputies on the scene, but they were giving conflicting instructions.
“If he had intended to do any harm to any officer there, he had the opportunity to do so,” Murphy said. He credited his client for resolving the incident before it “spun out of control.”
Aston also made a statement, calling the case “a travesty of justice.” He said he understood how the officer might have believed he was reaching for a weapon during the encounter, but felt his arrest was the result of sloppy police work. He told the court that the multiple firearms were in his car because he was trying to sell them.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge James Wilson declined Aston’s request for probation. Indicating he considered all of the information, Wilson explained that Aston’s “absconding takes this, in the court’s view, out of a probation case.”
A preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin Sept. 6 on the three felony charges involving Tatro. Woodbury and Luis will prosecute that case as well.