Man charged in 1989 South Tahoe murder case |

Man charged in 1989 South Tahoe murder case

A convicted murderer who was nearly released from a Washington state jail last week will be charged with the 1989 murder of South Lake Tahoe teenager, Kathy Graves.

On Jan. 29, the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint against Joseph Nissensohn, 57, charging him with the nearly two decades-old murder of Graves, according to a press release from El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson.

“Were we aware we were on a time crunch and afraid he was going to get out? Certainly,” said Chief Assistant District Attorney Bill Clark on Friday.

Nissensohn was due to be released from Pierce County Jail on Feb. 5 because his sentence from a previous murder conviction was fulfilled, but the Washington Attorney General’s Office petitioned to have him committed to a facility for violent sexual predators, according to an article in The News Tribune, based in Tacoma, Wash.

In 1991, Nissensohn was convicted of second degree murder for stabbing a woman to death during a drug-fueled bondage session in the back of a van while his soon-to-be wife looked on, the article said.

Washington prosecutors suspect Nissensohn of murders in California and Nevada, and court records reveal his wife has implicated him in Oklahoma murders as well, the article continued.

“I know there is another murder people are looking at that may involve him,” Clark said.

The assistant district attorney was not aware of the allegations of Nissensohn’s involvement in Oklahoma or Nevada murders, but said prosecutors in the Monterey area are also investigating Nissensohn.

The El Dorado County murder charge was the result of intensive investigative work conducted primarily by the “cold case” investigative team from the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s office, Pierson said in the statement.

El Dorado County prosecutors are following the Washington proceedings and do not expect Nissensohn to be released from custody prior to local prosecution.

“Mr. Nissensohn is expected to remain in the custody of the state of Washington until he can be extradited to California to face charges filed by El Dorado County,” the press statement indicated.

A probable cause hearing regarding the move by Washington district attorneys to have Nissensohn placed in a facility for violent sexual predators is scheduled for Feb. 21, according to the News Tribune.

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