Marin County Superior Court Judge James T. Chou ordered convicted serial killer Joseph Naso to pay the county nearly $171,000 for expenses incurred during his murder trial this year. The figure includes $116,000 for using the services of the county’s public defender’s office, $40,000 for defense investigators’ costs and $13,266 to copy documents provided to Naso by the district attorney’s office, Assistant County Counsel Jack Govi said.
Naso represented himself during the guilt and death penalty phases of his trial, but Deputy Public Defender Pedro Oliveros provided advisory counsel. Naso, 79, was convicted in August of the strangulation murders of four women who worked as prostitutes. Their bodies were found along rural roads in Marin, Yuba and Contra Costa counties between 1977 and 1994. The jury recommended the death penalty in September, and in November Judge Andrew Sweet sentenced him to life in prison without parole for the 1977 murder and to death for each of the other three killings.
The victims were Roxene Roggasch, 18, whose body was found in Marin County; Carmen Colon, 22, whose body was found in Contra Costa County; Tracy Tafoya, 31, and Pamela Parsons, 38, whose bodies were found in Yuba County. The prosecution also introduced evidence that Naso likely killed three other women. After an hour-long hearing, Judge Chou found Naso has the ability to pay the $170,949.70 to the county, Govi said. The Marin County District Attorney’s Office once estimated Naso had $1 million in assets. Naso, however, transferred $295,000 to his disabled son between July 2011 and July 2012, according to a court-ordered inquiry of Naso’s finances, Govi said.
That amount included between $30,000 and $40,000 in gold coins. “The liquid assets are gone,” Govi said. The judge found Naso also has two properties in Reno, Nev. that are valued between $560,000 and $944,000, Govi said. Naso, who was brought from San Quentin State Prison to attend the hearing, strenuously objected to the court’s order and to using his real estate properties to satisfy the order, Govi said. The county counsel’s office will seek a lien on the properties and eventually their sale, Govi said.
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