A man accused of killing custom guitar maker Taku Sakashita during a robbery at his Rohnert Park workshop in February testified in Sonoma County Superior Court this afternoon that he was smoking marijuana in his friend’s garage at the time of the slaying.Joshua Begley said he arrived at Steven Vanleuven’s house on Bridgit Drive in Rohnert Park around 8:15 p.m. on Feb. 11 and stayed for about an hour. The two smoked pot and talked about Harley Davidson motorcycles, he said. Sakashita, 43, known professionally as Sakashta, was fatally stabbed around 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 11 at his business at 643 Martin Ave., not far from Bridgit Drive. Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety officers found his body early the next morning in bushes outside his business after Sakashita’s wife searched for him and eventually called police. He was stabbed 11 times in the head, neck, chest and hand.Begley said he drove toward Santa Rosa to meet another friend after he left Vanleuven’s house but changed his mind and drove back to his former girlfriend Sheryl Bishop’s Rohnert Park apartment. He said he arrived around 10:15 p.m. and slept until 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. on Feb. 12.Begley was arrested at Bishop’s Civic Center Drive apartment on Feb. 15 after a vehicle and foot pursuit.The prosecution claims footprints found in smeared blood in Sakashita’s workshop match the bottom of a pair of Begley’s boots found on the patio at Bishop’s home, and that the boots contained Sakashita’s blood.Begley testified today he found the expensive Wolverine boots while Dumpster diving at businesses in the Martin Avenue area on the night of Feb. 12 and early morning hours of Feb. 13.He said he put the boots on the patio at Bishop’s apartment. There was a black glove with yellow marking stuffed in one of the boots, Begley said. Rohnert Park police said a black glove with yellow markings was found inside a jacket that had been draped over Sakashita’s body. Police allegedly found the matching glove in Begley’s Jeep Grand Cherokee.Begley testified this afternoon he put the glove he found in the boot under the back seat of his Jeep.Police also found a knife containing blood in another pocket of the jacket that covered Sakashita’s body. Begley testified he had never seen the knife or the jacket before the trial.Assistant Sonoma County District Attorney Tashawn Sanders will continue questioning Begley about the timeline of his actions on Feb. 11 and 12 when the trial resumes at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
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