Suspect in Calif. serial killings to stand trial
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (AP) – A judge ruled Monday that a man accused in the decades-old “Double Initial” serial killings case must stand trial for the murders of four Northern California women whose first and last names began with the same letter.
Joseph Naso, 78, was ordered to trial after a preliminary hearing before Marin County Superior Court Judge Andrew Sweet.
Naso is charged with the murders of Roxene Roggasch, Carmen Colon, Pamela Parsons and Tracy Tafoya, in the 1970s and 1990s. Police said all the victims were working prostitutes who had contact with Naso.
Prosecutors said they discovered DNA matching the profile of Naso on the stockings of Roggasch and under the fingernail of Colon.
Naso was arrested last year, after a probation search of his Reno, Nev., home unearthed photographs, journals and other evidence that authorities said linked him to the slayings.
During the two-week preliminary hearing, Detective Richard Brown of the Nevada Department of Public Safety testified that he believes Naso killed as many as 10 women. Prosecutors presented a so-called “List of 10” describing 10 women and locations, four of which were tied to the victims Naso is charged with slaying.
Throughout the hearing, prosecutors painted a picture of Naso as a sexual deviant who drugged women unconscious, then bound and photographed them appearing dead.
Naso, who is acting as his own attorney, countered that his photos were art akin to horror movies – made for a chilling effect, but not real.
Investigators testified that among the many items seized from Naso’s home was a journal that detailed violence against women and girls. They also said they found many photographs of at least one of the victims – Parsons – whom Naso acknowledged picking up as a hitchhiker.
Naso’s ex-wife, Judith Naso, 73, testified that twice during their 17-year marriage she remembered taking “vitamin pills” given to her by her husband, only to wake up later with strange men around her.
Naso declined to call any witnesses or take the stand during the hearing.
In his closing argument, he denied ever drugging women, saying his power of rapport with his models was all he needed to make them feel comfortable disrobing.
And while prosecutors pointed to Parsons as an example of a woman whose photographs he took, Naso argued that the vast majority of his models are “alive and well,” and that he did not kill her.
Naso is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 3.
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