Attorney for Former Madera Man Convicted of Third-Degree Murder Asks for Acquittal

CLEARFIELD – The attorney for a former Madera man convicted of third-degree murder is asking for an acquittal.

In January, Johnathan Blair Maines, 21, was found guilty of third-degree murder for the death of Joshua Sahm.

Witnesses who testified during the trial painted a picture of a “drug house” where the residents did methamphetamine all night before the day of the murder.

Maines stabbed Sahm in both the back and the neck because he was jealous of him, District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. said during his closing arguments at the trial.

After the stabbing, Maines, Ashley Storm and Keith Pinter ran from the home while Sahm fell down a stairway, bleeding. He died on the way to the hospital, according to reports.

Joshua Maines, attorney for Johnathan Maines, filed a post-sentence motion asking Judge Paul Cherry for an acquittal because of insufficient evidence. He is also asking for a new trial.

Among the issues raised by Joshua Maines is the fact that testimony in the trial did not include any indications that Johnathan Maines had any blood on his hands or clothes and the only blood tying him to the crime is a small amount on a pair of pants found days later in the home. In addition, the zipper-pull on these pants had DNA from an unidentified third person.

He refers to the verdict as a “comprise” because the jury was unable to find Johnathan Maines guilty of first-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter.

During motions court Tuesday, Joshua Maines stated he also objected to the use of a large photo of the victim, which was shown to the jury and to testimony regarding phone calls by Johnathan Maines from the jail.

He asked Cherry to review the transcript of the trial before making a decision on his motion.

Assistant District Attorney Jendi Schwab responded saying that she looked at the photo and it does not show the victim’s face and she did not believe it was inflammatory.

She asked that the Commonwealth be allowed to submit a brief responding to the issues raised by Joshua Maines.

Cherry gave both sides 16 days to submit briefs after which he will make a ruling.

In March, Cherry sentenced Johnathan Maines to 20 to 40 years in state prison, which is also being questioned by Joshua Maines in the motion because it was the maximum he could have gotten.

He notes that “had the defendant been a repeat violent offender with a lengthy prior record, he could not have been sentenced more severely.”

At the time of sentencing, Cherry commented that this was “one of the most senseless acts this court has seen in the 15 years I have been on the bench and as a district attorney for nine years.”

Cherry also said that Johnathan Maines has shown no remorse.

After sentencing, District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. referred to the investigation as a “difficult” one because the people involved were all using drugs, and he was pleased with Trooper Scott Sankey doing a “really nice job.”

Overall this case is a “worse case example of the dangers of drug use with two people’s lives needlessly ruined.”

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