Danville Express

Newsfront - February 2, 2007

Stirring arraignment for Danville man

Stabbing of brother one of several family tragedies

by Jordan M. Doronila

Jeremiah Palmer cried upon seeing his younger brother in Superior Court on charges of suspicion of killing one of their kin.

Danville resident Joshua Lemke, 28, was arraigned in court in Martinez on Tuesday afternoon on a charge of homicide. He had been arrested at his home a little after midnight, Friday, Jan. 26, on suspicion of fatally stabbing his 26-year-old brother Jonathan Lemke.

At the arraignment, Judge Nancy Davis Stark advised Joshua Lemke on the charge of murder against him, and he said he would seek a public defender. Danville Police Chief Chris Wenzel said the court system would determine if Joshua was indigent and therefore qualifies to receive services from a public lawyer.

Joshua's brothers Jeremiah, 30, and Justin Lemke, 24, attended his arraignment. Justin Lemke held Jeremiah tightly after seeing Joshua Lemke, who was unshaven, his dark brown hair haggard, and wearing a yellow jail jumpsuit.

"We love him very much," Justin Lemke said after the arraignment. "We're all still very much a family."

He added that his family would do whatever they could to help him.

Joshua Lemke allegedly stabbed his brother at their home on St. David's Drive in Danville. Joshua Lemke called the police and said his brother had been stabbed.

"He reported that his brother had been stabbed to death," said Danville Sgt. Troy Craig.

Danville police and fire personnel responded to the incident, and Jonathan Lemke was pronounced dead at the scene. After an investigation, police determined that Joshua Lemke was connected with the death of his brother.

He was booked into the Contra Costa County Main Detention Facility in Martinez on a homicide charge. The police have not established a motive for the killing, and the investigation is still continuing. More information may be revealed when the case moves forward, said Wenzel.

An autopsy of Jonathan Lemke revealed that his death was caused by a stabbing on the chest. Deputy District Attorney Hal Jewett is prosecuting the case.

The two brothers lived alone together on St. David's Drive. Their mother Carol Palmer Lemke, 56, died from breast cancer in 2003. And father Gary Lemke, 60, committed suicide in August after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.

There have also been reports that Joshua had had emotional problems, and neighbors said the brothers were overwhelmed by the loss of their parents.

Joshua Lemke is also charged with one count of assaulting a police officer, which allegedly happened when an officer was trying to take a blood sample from Lemke after his arrest.

Contact Jordan M. Doronila at jdoronila@DanvilleWeekly.com

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