SAN RAFAEL (CBS/AP) – A man accused in four Northern California cold-case killings made his first appearance in court Wednesday to face murder charges. The names of those women have raised questions about whether they were targeted because of their alliterative initials.
The victims slain in the 1970s and 1990s all had first and last initials that were the same—a fact that authorities are investigating to determine whether it’s a coincidence or the pattern of a serial killer.
Joseph Naso was charged Wednesday in Marin County. Prosecutors added special circumstances of multiple murders, which make him eligible for the death penalty.
Naso arrived in the Marin County courtroom Wednesday in shackles and a red-striped shirt. The balding and bespectacled 77-year-old didn’t say anything, and the judge postponed his arraignment while the court determines who will be his defense attorney.
District Attorney Ed Berberian said Naso has nearly $1 million in assets and argued that he should retain private counsel rather than be represented by the public defender’s office.
Berberian said outside of court afterward that he would wait until Naso has an attorney to decide whether to pursue the death penalty.
Investigators said a search of Naso’s home in Reno, Nev., turned up evidence linking him to bodies found across Northern California.
He is suspected of killing Roxene Roggasch in Marin County in 1977 . 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. 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.
Detectives around the country are looking into whether the 77-year-old freelance photographer could be tied to their cold cases.
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