Investigators trying to determine if shooting an act of self defense

Tuesday, October 17th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) -- Investigators are trying to determine if a Muskogee County man fatally shot another man in self-defense when the man approached his front door after allegedly making a threatening phone call.

James Aston, 37, was being held in the Muskogee County jail Monday night on a complaint of first-degree manslaughter. His bail was set at $5,000 while authorities decide if the shooting was justified under Oklahoma's "Make My Day" law.

"There is some evidence and some information we are looking at that could indicate self-defense," said Gary Sturm, investigator for the Muskogee County District Attorney's Office.

Aston shot James Anthony Chesser twice in the upper body Sunday night after the victim had rushed onto the front patio of Aston's trailer home, Muskogee County Sheriff's Lt. Roger Lee said.

Chesser, 36, apparently had called Aston only minutes before the encounter, Lee said, and then drove to his house.

"The suspect said he (Chesser) charged toward him after getting out of the pickup," Lee said. "Once he was upon the porch that's when he (Aston) shot and killed him."

Chesser died at the scene, authorities said. His truck was in Aston's front drive with the engine still running and the driver's side door open.

After the shooting, Aston laid his pistol on a kitchen table and waited for police. His girlfriend, Brenda Chesser, called authorities. Chesser is the widow of the victim's brother, Lee said. Aston and Chesser had been involved for several years, he said.

The two men may have been arguing over Brenda Chesser's son, who had been staying with James Anthony Chesser recently, Lee said.

Brenda Chesser told police that her former brother-in-law had threatened her current boyfriend.

Warner Police Chief Terry Thompson, who was helping Muskogee County investigators, apparently retrieved a copy of an alleged threatening phone message the victim made against Aston. Lee said he has not yet heard the message.

No weapon was found on the victim, officials said.

"I think the rain and the storms helped tighten the tension of emotions," Sturm said. "It was raining sheets."

Aston has no criminal history, Sturm said. James Anthony Chesser had four previous felony convictions, including one count of feloniously pointing a weapon in 1994, according to reports.