Alleged Serial Killer Joseph Naso Begins Trial Monday

Published by on June 13, 2013

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A jury was selected Wednesday at the trial of alleged serial killer Joseph Naso in Marin County Superior Court and opening statements are scheduled for Monday morning before Judge Andrew Sweet. Naso, 79, of Reno, is charged with killing four women whose bodies were found in along rural roads in Yuba, Marin and Contra Costa counties between 1977 and 1994. There are six men and six women on the jury, and nine alternate urors also were selected, Naso’s advisory counsel Pedro Oliveros said this afternoon. Naso has elected to represent himself, and Oliveros said as Naso’s advisory counsel his role is limited to helping Naso with questions regarding the law and trial procedure. He said he could not disclose whom Naso plans to call as witnesses, but Naso intends to give an opening statement to the jury most likely on Monday afternoon.

Naso is charged with the murders of Roxene Roggasch, 18, Carmen Colon, 22, Pamela Parsons, 38, and Tracey Tafoya, 31, whose bodies were found along rural roads in the four counties. Naso, a self-employed modeling photographer, photographed nude and
partially nude women in heels, lingerie and garters in poses that made them appear dead, incapacitated or unconscious, according to testimony at Naso’s preliminary hearing in January. Pathologists who performed autopsies on the women testified at the hearing that all of them died of asphyxiation likely due to strangulation. Roggasch, of Oakland, was found dead on the eastern slope of White’s Hill in Fairfax on Jan. 11, 1977. She was wearing pantyhose inside out with another pair around her neck, a third pair in her mouth and a fourth pair wrapped around her mouth, according to the prosecution’s witnesses. Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Tuan Nguyen, a criminalist who processed the pantyhose for DNA evidence, testified Naso’s wife’s DNA was found on one pair of pantyhose, and semen from two males were found on another pair. One of the semen samples likely came from Naso, Nguyen testified.

The prosecution is alleging the murders were committed during sexual battery and false imprisonment, and reflect the dominance and control of women in Naso’s photographs. Naso, who represented himself during the preliminary hearing, said he had many dates and girlfriends who willingly posed for the photographs. “This has nothing to do with power but with rapport,” he said during the hearing. Naso said all the prosecution’s evidence at the hearing was circumstantial. He faces the death penalty if convicted of committing multiple murders. The trial is expected to last until mid-November. There will no trial the weeks of July 15 and July 22. Testimony will resume July 29. There also will be no trial sessions on Thursdays, and lunch breaks will be between noon and 1:30 p.m.

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