Marin Judge Grants Serial Killer Suspect’s Request To Be Own Lawyer

SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) – Marin County Superior Court Judge Andrew E. Sweet approved Friday accused serial murderer Joseph Naso’s bid to represent himself for the slayings of four Northern California women between 1977 and 1994.

“It is my strong feeling that it is against your best interests to represent yourself,” Sweet said Thursday at the beginning of a hearing on the issue.

“Mr. Naso, you are now your own counsel,” Sweet said at the conclusion of the hearing Friday morning.

The judge said he was convinced Naso’s decision to represent himself was made “knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily.”

Naso is scheduled to enter a plea on May 27.

“I expect you to enter a plea on the next court date,” Sweet said.

“That sounds okay, but I would like discovery today,” the 77-year-old defendant said regarding evidence and other information the Marin County District Attorney’s Office has about the case.

“I live alone and have no roommates in my cell. I have a lot of time on my hands and want to get started on reviewing and examining discovery,” Naso said.

Naso said he wants to represent himself because he does not believe that conversations he might have in jail with an attorney would be confidential.
He also said paying for legal representation would “exhaust my (financial) resources.”
Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian said Naso has $1 million in liquid assets.
“We’ll just go through the normal process. He’ll be treated like anyone else,” Berberian said after the hearing.
Berberian would not say if the prosecution would be easier or harder because Naso is representing himself.
Berberian also said his office has not decided whether he will seek the death penalty.
“We’ll start that (decision) process now,” he said.

Naso is charged with killing Roxene Roggasch, 18, of Oakland, whose body was found on Jan. 10, 1977, on White’s Hill near Fairfax, and Carmen Colon, 22, who was found dead near Port Costa in Contra Costal County in 1978.

He also is accused of killing Pamela Parsons, 38, and Tracy Tofoya, whose bodies were found in 1993 and 1994, respectively, in Yuba County.

New York State Police and Rochester, N.Y., police also are investigating whether Naso is responsible for the “double initials” murders of Carmen Colon, 10, Wanda Walkowicz and Michelle Maenza, both 11, near Rochester, N.Y., between 1971 and 1973.

The four Northern California murder victims also had first and last names beginning with the same letter.

(Copyright 2011 by 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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