Another Fort Bragg Homicide!
Updated with photo of James Kester from Fort Bragg Advocate
With law enforcement already combing the woods for a suspect in two murders, Fort Bragg’s jitters just got worse. Yesterday evening (Sept. 5), just before 8:30, police raced to respond to a 911 call about a man yelling for help. By the time they reached the area, the caller, Jason Blackshear, had died from injuries apparently as the result of a physical altercation.
Mendocino County Sheriff Detectives with the assistance of the DA’s Inspectors, have begun a murder investigation. They are looking for a James Kester (about 40 yrs old), a transient from the area. He is described as a white male with a shaved head. There are tattoos on his neck and throat.
This is the third homicide in a month. The first, Matthew Coleman‘s, was initially reported as a bear attack but quickly was found to be gun shot. He died not far from Westport. The second, city councilman, Jere Melo, who was investigating reports of a squatter on private property, died as the result of multiple gunshot wounds in an area not far from Northspur. A massive hunt comprising, at times, over 50 law enforcement personnel has been searching the area for over a week for the suspect, Aaron Bassler. Both the wanted men are white and have had shaved heads.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of James Kester or Aaron Bassler is encouraged to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 463-4085 or (707) 467-9159 and leave a message for Detective Andrew Porter.
The Press Democrat offers insight into how Mendocino law enforcement is handling the strain.
UPDATE 2:15: Mendocino Co. Sheriff Press Release:
On September 6, 2011, at approximately 1100 hours, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office received information that Suspect James Kester was at a location on Babcock Lane in Fort Bragg, CA. Deputies then proceeded to that location and contacted Subject Kester asking him to come in for questioning to which Subject Kester agreed.
After interviewing the subject, witnesses and collecting evidence at the scene, James Kester was arrested for the murder of Jason Blackshear.
Subject was transported and booked into the Mendocino County Jail on the charges of 187PC Murder. Bail was set at $500,000.