Scuffle occurs as verdict read in murder case

September 28, 2010 3:48:28 PM PDT
A scuffle occurred in a Sonoma County courtroom this afternoon after a jury convicted a 29-year-old man of first-degree murder for the killing of guitar maker Taku Sakashita in his Rohnert Park workshop on Feb. 11.

As the verdict was read shortly after 2:30 p.m., the defendant, Joshua Begley, turned to his family, waved, and said, "Goodbye."

A banging sound was heard, as if Begley were kicking or pounding the defense table. He then stood up and said, "I'm not responsible for these crimes."

At that point, several bailiffs surrounded him, leaning him over the defense table and handcuffing him. The bailiffs then took him away and cleared the courtroom.

The jury was escorted to another room.

Begley was charged with first-degree murder during a robbery as well as burglary, robbery, resisting arrest and evading a peace officer.

Begley testified that he was at his friend Steven Van Leuven's Rohnert Park home at the time of the 8:30 p.m. murder. Van Leuven testified he could not positively say Begley was there on Feb. 11.

The prosecution has argued during the trial that boots found at Begley's girlfriend's home had blood with Sakashita's DNA on them.

Begley testified that he found the boots on Martin Avenue near Sakashita's workshop on Feb. 12 while "Dumpster diving."

Sakashita's body was found at about 4 a.m. on Feb. 12 in bushes outside his business at 643 Martin Ave. He had been stabbed 11 times in the head, chest, neck and hand.

The jury began deliberating Friday.


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