CLEARFIELD – Testimony continued in a 20-year-old Madera man’s homicide trial Tuesday in Clearfield County Court before Judge Paul E. Cherry.
Johnathan Blair Maines has been charged by Trooper Scott A. Sankey of the Clearfield-based state police with criminal homicide, aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.
District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. is prosecuting the case on behalf of the commonwealth. The defendant is being represented by defense attorney Josh Maines with whom he has no family relation.
Johnathan Maines allegedly fatally stabbed Joshua A. Sahm, 30, of Blandburg on the afternoon of March 20, 2018 in an upstairs bedroom at a Main Street apartment in Madera.
Keith Pinter of Coalport told jurors he partied with five others – Ashley Storm, Johnathan Maines, Sahm, Jesse Breeden and Rick Weatherholtz – “off-and-on” the night of March 19 into the morning hours of March 20.
He said they were doing the methamphetamine that had been purchased from Sahm. Around 3 a.m., he said the defendant wanted everyone out of Storm’s room so he could get some sleep.
According to Pinter, Storm said no and that everyone could stay. He said Johnathan Maines went downstairs to “get away from the situation.”
The next morning, Weatherholtz and Breeden left with a friend to go “junking” while Pinter was dozing on the downstairs couch. A couple minutes later, he was awoken by a “gargled scream.” He heard some scuffling around upstairs and another scream about 20 to 30 seconds later.
He got up and went toward the front stairway, where he could see Storm coming from the bathroom and Johnathan Maines backing down the hallway from Storm’s bedroom.
Pinter said Sahm slowly came staggering and stumbling out of Storm’s bedroom, and was leaning into the wall. He said the defendant looked down at him, then back at Storm and stated, “we gotta get out of here.”
Not knowing what was going on, he ran outside with them and they met up at a garage behind the residence. He said Storm stated there was a knife sticking out of Sahm, and they had to call 911 to get him help.
When Johnathan Maines began to say the knife was in Sahm’s neck, Pinter said he seemed “fidgety,” and there was a blood spatter from the knee down on the left pant leg of his camouflage pants.
Pinter said he told them if Storm called 911, he had to leave. He went on to explain that there were warrants out for him, and he wanted to stay out of jail due to an upcoming child custody proceeding.
He left and saw Storm and Johnathan Maines go back inside the residence. He went to a friend’s place nearby and later on to Coalport.
When he heard about the stabbing, Pinter said he had a female contact state police to give them his location. He said investigators came to him and he voluntarily gave them information.
The defendant’s sister, Harley Leskovansky of Houtzdale, said she picked him up around 8:30 p.m. or 9 p.m. March 20. She said he appeared to be “really high” and her brother claimed he wasn’t involved with the stabbing.
His sister, Elizabeth Maines, said Harley unexpectedly dropped him off at her residence in Frenchville. She said her brother changed his clothes there, which she bagged and later turned over to state police.
Dr. Harry Kamerow, an expert from Centre Pathology Associates, conducted an autopsy examination on Sahm at J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital in Huntingdon.
He said Sahm was stabbed in his back, and the eight-inch knife was almost entirely in his body. He said he (Sahm) also suffered two lacerations to the left side of his neck.
Kamerow told jurors there was a “severe” laceration to Sahm’s left carotid artery in his neck. He said there was another laceration to his right lower lung, causing blood to accumulate in his pleural cavity.
He said the knife ultimately transected Sahm’s aorta either perimortem (near time of death) or postmortem (after death). It was found in his abdominal cavity between the lobes of the liver.
Kamerow said the knife was removed at the conclusion of the autopsy examination and turned over to an on-site state police investigator.
When asked under direct questioning by Shaw, he said without emergency assistance, either stab wound – to the neck or back – could independently result in death. He ruled Sahm’s death a homicide.
Joseph Kukosky, a forensic scientist with the Pennsylvania State Police DNA Division in Greensburg, analyzed several samples prepared by the PSP Regional Crime Laboratory in Erie.
He said Sahm’s DNA was detected on the handle and blade of the butterfly and Camillus knives, as well as in a blood stain from a pair of camouflage pants that Johnathan Maines had on March 20.
Under cross-examination by defense attorney Josh Maines, he did say the defendant’s DNA wasn’t found on the knives’ handles, but he noted that both were blood-stained.
Kukosky said DNA from two people was detected on the waistband/zipper pull area of the camouflage pants, with the primary contributor being Johnathan Maines.
The commonwealth will continue presenting its case when the trial resumes at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Courtroom No. 2 at the Clearfield County Courthouse.