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Marin Prosecutor Seeks Death Penalty For Suspected Serial Killer

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Joseph Naso

Joseph Naso (Washoe County Sheriff’s Office)

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SAN RAFAEL (CBS 5 / KCBS) ― A Bay Area prosecutor said Tuesday that he planned to seek the death penalty for a suspected 77-year-old serial killer accused in four cold-case deaths in Northern California.

Authorities also said they believed Joseph Naso may be connected to killing sprees in other states, including the notorious “double-initial murders” of three girls in upstate New York in the early 1970s.

Naso remained held in the Marin County Jail Tuesday without bail on suspicion of murdering women from 1977 to 1994, including two in Marin and Contra Costa counties.

All the Northern California victims had matching initials for their first and last names, as did the New York victims.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:

Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian announced that he would seek the death penalty for Naso in the four Northern California killings.

Naso was scheduled to be arrained on four counts of murder in Marin County Superior Court on Wednesday afternoon.

Naso was arrested by Marin County sheriff’s deputies Monday when he was released from the El Dorado County Jail in South Lake Tahoe where he was serving time for violating his probation following his conviction on a theft charge.

He is suspected of killing Roxene Roggasch in Marin County in 1977, Berberian said at a news conference Tuesday. Roggasch was murdered in the area of White’s Hill near Fairfax.

Investigators believe Naso also killed Carmen Colon in Contra Costa County in 1978, Berberian said. Ironically, authorities said one of the New York victims was also named Carmen Colon.

The two other Northern California victims, killed in Yuba County in 1993 and 1994, were Pamela Parsons and Tracy Tofoya, the district attorney said.

Investigators indicated that they found evidence during a random probation search of Naso’s Reno, Nevada, home last year that linked him to the four killings.

Berberian said the case began to develop further in April, when Novato police came across additional information linking Naso to the murders.

Authorities noted that Naso was a professional photographer who traveled the country for work, so a task force was launched that has been in contact with cold-case detectives around the country.

Investigators discovered Naso once lived in the Rochester, N.Y. area and traveled between there and the West in the early 1970s.

But New York state police did caution Tuesday that so far they had found no evidence tying Naso to the “double-initial” deaths and that a DNA sample taken from one Rochester victim didn’t match his DNA.

Naso declined requests for jailhouse interviews Tuesday through guards.

(© 2011 CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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