Testimony Concludes in Madera Man’s Homicide Trial

CLEARFIELD – Testimony concluded and both the commonwealth and defense rested their cases in a 20-year-old Madera man’s homicide trial Wednesday afternoon in Clearfield County Court.

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.

According to previous trial testimony, both men partied at the “drug house” the night before with Ashley Storm, Jesse Breeden, Keith Pinter and Rick Weatherholtz. They all used methamphetamine that was supplied by Sahm.

Sankey was dispatched to the murder scene and arrived shortly after 2 p.m. He said several uniformed troopers had already taped off the residence and he met with his supervisor to establish the game plan for the investigation.

He said he spoke with neighbors and business owners and found out the Moose Lodge had surveillance footage. He said Corporal Adam Gibson, the Clearfield barracks’ crime unit supervisor, obtained the video.

Sankey said both Pinter and Storm were willing to speak to investigators and taken in for interviews. He said Pinter initially mentioned Johnathan Maines had on camouflage pants March 20, but investigators thought he was mistaken.

He explained to members of the jury that when troopers viewed “grainy” surveillance video from the Moose Lodge, they thought the defendant was wearing jeans.

On March 27, investigators conducted additional interviews with Storm and Pinter, both of whom had been incarcerated and were now sober.

This time Storm disclosed more details and that Johnathan Maines had changed clothes March 20 and then hid his camouflage pants in a pile of laundry.

Because another trooper was present, Sankey said he immediately stepped out and made a phone call. He had a trooper sent to the Madera residence right away to locate and collect the pants.

Pinter’s account didn’t change and he told investigators again that Johnathan Maines had on camouflage pants. “… I thought now we may be onto something,” Sankey testified.

On March 27, Trooper Randy Powell went back to the scene where the pants were found in a large pile of dirty laundry beside the washer and dryer at the base of the steps.

He told jurors it appeared there were blood stains on the pants, which were later sent for DNA testing. A state police forensic scientist detected Sahm’s DNA in a blood stain sample and Johnathan Maines’ DNA in a swab taken from the waistband.

The defense called both Harley Leskovansky and Elizabeth Maines to testify on their brother’s behalf. Both were shown the surveillance video of three people running out of the Madera residence.

Both said the second person – who the commonwealth alleges is Johnathan Maines in the video – is not him.

However, under cross-examination by Shaw, both stated they loved their brother. Leskovansky – also when asked – testified that she didn’t believe her brother was capable of murder.

Closing arguments will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday morning after which Judge Paul E. Cherry will instruct members of the jury on the law and send them into their deliberations.

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