Testimony began in Sonoma County Superior Court this afternoon at the trial of a man accused of slaying noted custom guitar maker Taku Sakashita in his Rohnert Park workshop in February. Sonoma County resident Joshua Begley is accused of killing 43-year-old Sakashita, known professionally as Taku Sakashta, who was found dead in the bushes outside his business at 643 Martin Ave. on Feb. 12. An autopsy determined he was stabbed 11 times in the head, neck, chest and hand. Chief Deputy District Attorney Tashawn Sanders told the jury during her opening statement this afternoon that Sakashita’s DNA was found on Begley’s boots and other items that will link the 29-year-old defendant to the slaying. But Deputy Public Defender Charles Ogulnik told the 16 jurors, four of whom are alternates, “This is a circumstantial evidence case.” He said the items allegedly connecting Begley to the slaying are “moveable objects.” “There’s no evidence he had control over them, that he wore those boots or had the knife,” Ogulnik said. Ogulnik also said he would present evidence that Begley was somewhere else when the slaying occurred. According to evidence introduced during Begley’s preliminary hearing, a bloody knife was found in one pocket of a jacket that had been placed over Sakashita’s body, and a black, right-hand glove with a yellow stripe was found in another pocket. Begley’s former girlfriend testified at the preliminary hearing that Begley owned a similar knife and pair of work gloves. A Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety officer testified he found a black, left-hand glove with a yellow stripe and blood spots in Begley’s Jeep Cherokee. Preliminary hearing testimony also suggested bloody boot prints inside the workshop matched Begley’s boots, which had dried blood on them when they were recovered from his girlfriend’s apartment. Rohnert Park police found Sakashita’s body after his wife climbed through a window of the workshop when he did not come home that night. She saw blood on the floor inside and checked area hospitals for her husband before calling police. Police began monitoring Begley when evidence identified him as a suspect. Officers tried to stop his vehicle on Feb. 15, but Begley fled and then escaped on foot. He was arrested soon after at his girlfriend’s apartment at 950 Civic Center Drive. Begley is charged with robbery, burglary, murder during a robbery and burglary, evading police, and resisting or obstructing an officer.
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