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.



  • It is not official, but I heard that James Kester was apprehended without incident about 20 minutes ago in Fort Bragg. Interesting about the time you posted (8:30 pm), as I heard the initial report of subject calling for help come over the radio scanner shortly before Midnight and no law enforcement was at the scene until after Midnight.

    • That’s odd. I just went back and and checked. Here’s and exact copy of the press release place and time.

      Location: 19175 Babcock Lane, Fort Bragg, CA
      Date: 9/5/2011 Time: 2020

      • Yes, it IS odd … I read the release as well, but I also know what I heard and when, so it’s a mystery.

        • I forgot to add that I Log “interesting” reports with the time as I hear them, so little chance of a mistake as all my clocks in the room agree on the time.

          • Interesting…Do you think that the officers were spread so thin dealing with the Bassler situation that they took an inordinate amount of time to respond?

            • Well, I’ve been listening to scanners for 30 years (I’m an emergency communications specialist) and what I heard sounded like the initial first report. I say that because I also heard names mentioned as victim/subject that turned out to not be incorrect, or perhaps they were the two witnesses, and I also heard a gun was involved, but the report says otherwise. Kym, email me privately.

          • but i bet what you all dont know was that guy he killed started it and he did it in self defince and i know this because i talked to him my self . and i know i am kinda late on this but i was not aloud tom look it up . oh and he was doing 25 years to life but he might be getting it shortined because of good behaveor .

  • Confirmed via MCSO press release, Kester has been apprehended without incident.

  • Confirmed via MCSO press release, Kester has been apprehended without incident.

  • “those crazy bald-heads……”

  • “those crazy bald-heads……”

    • The Sheriff’s Deputies? Weight lifters? Jocks? Clowns? Guys that have lost their hair? Please be more specific with your trolling.

  • Pingback: Another Homicide Rocks Fort Bragg « REDHEADED BLACKBELT

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