General Crime

* Taku Sakashta Of Rohnert Park A Well-Known Guitar Maker ‘s Killer Arrested Joshua Rhea Begley

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UPDATE Click Here Sept 28,2010 Taku Sakashta Accused Killer Joshua Begley Found Guilty

UPDATE Click Here Feb 18,2010 Taku Sakashta Accused Killer Joshua Begley Delays His Pleas

UPDATE Click Here Feb 16, 2010 Taku Sakashta Of Rohnert Park His Autopsy Showed He Was Stabbed To Death

Police today arrested a suspect in the killing of well-known guitar maker Taku Sakashta outside his Rohnert Park workshop last week.Joshua Rhea Begley, 28, was taken into custody shortly after 1 a.m. today in the area of 905 Civic Center Drive after a car chase and a foot pursuit, police said.Sakashta’s body was found shortly before 4 a.m. Friday outside his workshop in the 600 block of Martin Avenue, a horseshoe-shaped street in an industrial area off of Labath Avenue.Sakashta’s wife had called police to report that her husband had failed to return home; when she went to his workshop to check on him, she found it in a “suspicious” state, police said.Officers searched the area and found the body of 43-year-old Sakashta outside in some bushes, police Lt. Jeff Taylor said. Evidence pointed police toward Begley, who had made headlines earlier that week for briefly escaping police custody during an arrest in Petaluma by using a key hidden in his mouth to unlock his handcuffs. He was eventually arrested in that case but apparently was out of custody when the murder occurred.When police tried to arrest Begley for Sakashta’s murder, he sped off in his car, sparking a chase. He exited the vehicle at the corner of Camino Colegio and Southwest Boulevard and ran.Rohnert Park police searched the neighborhood with the help of Sonoma State University police, Cotati police, Petaluma police and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. Begley was eventually tracked to an apartment at 905 Civic Center Drive and was arrested at 1:10 a.m. today.He was booked into Sonoma County jail on charges of murder,robbery and evading police.Taylor today declined to discuss how Sakashta was killed but said an autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday. He would not yet confirm the motive was robbery.Begley had charges pending from several drug-related arrests in recent months, including two in Cotati: a Sept. 26 arrest for possession of paraphernalia and a Jan. 3 arrest for possession of paraphernalia and a controlled substance, Taylor said. Separately, on Feb. 8, Begley escaped custody using his hidden key during an arrest in Petaluma for being under the influence of a controlled substance. He is being held without bail in Sonoma County jail.Guitarist Mike Oria was crushed to hear what had happened to his friend. Oria, 40, who makes up half of the local musical duet the Miller/Oria Duo, had known Sakashta since 2004 and had spent many days at his
workshop, learning the art of guitar making. “I used to bring my guitar to him for repairs and modifications and so forth, and over time we got a little closer and I would come up to his shop and observe him and ask a bunch of questions,” Oria said.The two bonded over a love of Robert Benedetto guitars. Over time, Sakashta got to know Oria’s taste in sound, so when Oria finally asked Sakashta to make him a custom guitar – which can go for $20,000 and up – the craftsman was ready Sakashta’s workshop was in Petaluma at the time, and Oria would drive there from his home in Antioch on weekends to watch the guitar take shape. The project was put on hold in 2007 when Sakashta was inundated with new orders after a guitar he had created was featured on the cover of an album by blues/rock musician Robben Ford. “About six months or a year passed and then finally he called and said, ‘I’ve got the exact woods,'” Oria said. “I ran up there to Petaluma. He had found some beautiful pieces.”Oria said Sakashta had high standards for the wood he used in his craft, both aesthetically and functionally. “The best pieces of wood have a very nice ringing tone when you tap them,” he said.Finally, last summer, the guitar was finished. Sakashta called and told Oria he would deliver it to his house. He and his wife Kazuko were in a bad mood by the time they arrived because they had gotten lost on their way to Antioch but Sakashta went straight to work, he said.”He showed up with his tools. I pulled it out of the case and for the next hour,I played guitar and he would make adjustments, ” Oria said. When Sakashta left the room,his wife leaned over and told Oria in broken English that her husband was especially proud of that guitar.Oria’s voice broke several times when he talked of his friend, and said he couldn’t imagine why anyone would hurt him. He described him as polite, respectful, “even-keeled” and “an all-around peaceful person.”He called his friend a true artist.”He could do anything that he wanted to do in regard with the sounds that he heard in his head … it was just how to make that tangible,” Oria said.”His guitar work was magical,” he said.

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  • My condolences to the Takashta family. Absoluteley senseless tragedy that took from us one of the most talented innovative and creative minds the luthiery world had ever seen. When I read of his death I could only wish this would have happened in Texas so that the scum that did this would’ve already fried. Once again, my condolences.

  • To the Family, friends, and court of Santa Rosa, CA

    We here at Tenorio Werx in Denver Co, wish to extend our sympathy and mourn the loss of our dear brother in Lutherie. Having never met him, many of my customers own his instruments and threw the gift of his instruments we can tell what kind of person he was,kind, gentle, giving, creative and an inspiration to us all. Our community has suffered a great loss. He will be remembered.The punishment for this crime should be equal to the crime itself, this should not be tolerated and by example we can hopefully prevent this in the future by having the punishment set to a maximum.

    Mark Tenorio owner and Luthier
    Erin Tenorio owner and Luthier
    Garrick Frunz apprentice

  • Another senseless act by another total loser. Let’s hope that the criminal justice system will hand down the ultimate punishment – death.

  • A senseless tragedy, such an outstanding luthier to end up dead at the hands of a drug abuseing maniac. This cold blooded killer should have to die a slow brutal death as his punishment for this crime. I pray that he asks God’s forgiveness for this crime before he looses his life. I also pray that the judge in this trial will exercise his authority to the fullest extent of the law and give this parasite the maximum punishment allowed by the law. God bless this loving wife and Taku’s family.

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