An alibi witness for Joshua Begley, the accused killer of Rohnert Park custom guitar maker Taku Sakashita, testified this afternoon he could not say for certain he was with Begley at the time of the homicide.Sakashita, 43, known professionally as Sakashta, was found dead outside his business at 643 Martin Ave. around 4 a.m. on Feb. 12. He had been stabbed 11 times in the head, chest, neck and hand.Begley is charged with killing him during a robbery ay about 8:30 p.m. the day before. He was arrested after a police chase on Feb. 15.Begley, 29, testified in Sonoma County Superior Court this week he was smoking marijuana and talking about motorcycles in the garage of his friend Steven Van Leuven Jr.’s Rohnert Park home around 8:30 p.m.Begley said he arrived at Van Leuven’s home around 8:15 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11, and stayed for about an hour.Van Leuven, 34, testified he was never certain he was with Begley on Feb. 11 but believed it was on a Thursday.He said he recalls it was on a school night because he had just finished helping his 13-year-old son with his homework, and they were watching TV when Begley arrived and stayed for “about a half-hour to an hour.” He said he was getting his son ready for his 9 p.m. bedtime when Begley left his house. He also said Begley was happy because he had just gotten a job that paid $22 an hour.”He said he started that day or the day before,” Van Leuven said.Begley testified his first day as a clean-up crewmember at a dry wall installation project at Napa Valley College was Feb. 11. Van Leuven, an unemployed carpenter at the time, said he was jealous of Begley’s good fortune and had asked him to find work for him.Van Leuven, who will be released Monday after serving six months in the Sonoma County jail for being drunk in public and battery on a police officer, said he would not lie for Begley.”No, not in this matter, no,” he said.He said Begley asked him in a letter to try to remember the date they last saw each other. He testified he wanted to help Begley. “I thought about this matter a lot. I really had to think about it. My friend’s life is as stake here,” Van Leuven said.”There was a lot of pressure. It’s hazy, man. It’s hazy today,” Van Leuven told Deputy District Attorney Daniel Cohan.Cohan questioned whether Van Leuven’s son, a seventh grader at the Mountain Shadows Middle School in Rohnert Park, would have been doing his homework the night Begley visited if the school was closed on Friday in observation of Presidents’ Day the following Monday. “I might not have known what date Presidents’ Day was at that time,” Van Leuven replied. “Feb. 11 is an educated guess. I don’t remember,” he said regarding the date he might have last seen Begley.The trial resumes Monday morning, and the jury is expected to begin deliberations Wednesday or Thursday.
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