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Called a ‘cowardly punk,’ Clearfield County man receives sentence in fatal stabbing

Johnathan Maines
Johnathan Maines

A 21-year-old Madera man was sentenced Monday for third-degree murder.

Johnathan Blair Maines, who was convicted in January in the death Joshua Sahm, 30, of Blandburg, was sentenced by Clearfield County Judge Paul E. Cherry to 20 to 40 years in state prison.

During the four-day trial, two witnesses said Maines twice stabbed Sahm, who was found bleeding at the bottom of a staircase and died on the way to a hospital. The fatal stabbing in March 2018 happened after a night of partying and methamphetamine use on Main Street in Madera, according to the testimony.

Prior to sentencing, Sahm’s aunt, Michelle O’Dell, called Maines a “cowardly punk” who left her nephew to suffer and die. Sahm was a kind person who loved life and his family, she said.

Her family is now “forever broken,” and she hopes Maines is assaulted every day in prison — with each assault worse than the last, O’Dell said in the courtroom.

Two of Maines’ relatives spoke in his favor, including his father, who asked for mercy. Cherry said Maines showed no mercy toward the victim and called the case “one of the most senseless acts” he has seen.

Maines was also sentenced for a probation violation to an additional two to five years in prison.

Jealousy drove the stabbing after a woman involved with Maines flirted with Sahm, according to District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr.’s closing arguments at the trial.

Defense attorney Joshua Maines, in his closing, asked the jury to consider that the witnesses were under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the incident. They said in their testimonies that it had impacted their recollection.

Joshua Maines, who is not related to to Johnathan Maines, said there was no DNA or fingerprints on the weapons. He also claimed that it was not Johnathan in the surveillance video, relying on testimony from Johnathan’s sisters that they did not recognize that man as their brother.

The defense suggested another person was responsible for the killing and that Johnathan was being framed.

Joshua Maines said Monday that he would file an appeal challenging the evidence in this case. Johnathan Maines has continued to maintain his innocence, he said.

Shaw said it’s routine for the defense to file appeals. Johnathan Maines showed a lack of remorse, which is part of why Shaw asked Cherry to deliver a consecutive sentence for the probation violation — even though Maines already received the maximum for the murder conviction, the district attorney said.

This situation was a “worst-case example of the dangers of drug use,” Shaw said. The investigation was difficult because all the people involved had been using methamphetamine, he said.