General Crime

Joseph Naso Murder Trial, Jury Recommends He be Sentenced to Death

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A Marin County Superior Court jury recommended today that convicted serial killer Joseph Naso be sentenced to death. The verdict was read at 3:45 p.m. in Department F in San Rafael. Naso, 79, of Reno, Nev., was convicted Aug. 20 of strangling Roxene Roggasch, Tracy Tafoya, Pamela Parsons and Carmen Colon. Their bodies were found off of rural roads in Contra Costa, Marin and Yuba counties between 1977 and 1994. “I am pleased that the jury listened to my mitigation arguments,” Naso said in a prepared statement given to his advisory counsel, Pedro Oliveros.

“I want to help others in prison. I am on the threshold of a new life and will make the best of it.” Oliveros said Naso believes the prosecution did not prove their case against him, and he admits no guilt. Headed to prison, however, Naso feels that he still has the opportunity to be a “fatherly figure to help younger inmates on death row,” Oliveros said. Naso, representing himself, requested that his official sentencing be delayed to give him time to think.

He is next due in court on Sept. 20. Prosecutor Dori Ahana said after the verdict was read, “It’s justice for the victims which is what we were seeking from the beginning.” Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian said that the jury’s verdict was justified for a convicted serial murderer. Angelique McDonald, 41, of Vallejo, whose mother, Colon, was one of Naso’s victims, agreed. “I’m just glad it’s over with,” she said. Asked if she wanted Naso to die, she said “yes.”

The jury started deliberations at 10:15 a.m. today after Judge Andrew Sweet allowed Naso to reopen his closing argument, which he had completed Monday. Naso addressed the jury for about six minutes and again asked them not to impose the death penalty. He would have faced life without parole if the jury did not recommend the death penalty.

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