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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.)

  • juan lepaso

    One who represents him/herself in a criminal proceeding has a fool for
    an attorney!

  • JaneQPublic

    It will be interesting to see if he files any APPEAL (following conviction) based upon INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL (meaning HIMSELF!)

  • athenia

    I do not think he should be allowed to represent himself! He is just making a mockery of the justice system, and indulging himself! I hope he does not get an all female jury! Too bad all the women he killed cannot come back to indict him? I hope the DA is tough, and capable.

  • Walt Landers

    There is a large sector of people who went to law school who do not commit to the spirit of justice: remember the OJ trial. If interpretation of law is so complex that it takes a specialist to defend a person caught up in it, then it is not a societal phenomenon for fairness and safety, but a method for an exclusive and protected sector of our eco/government to “legally” steal from the lay public.

  • NorCal Serial Killing Suspect Had Thousands Of Nude Photos « CBS San Francisco

    […] Last week a judge granted Naso’s request to represent himself at trial. […]

  • ‘Double Initial’ Serial Killer Suspect Denied Publicly-Funded Help « CBS San Francisco

    […] Naso has claimed he does not have access to his assets and can’t afford to hire an attorney to represent him so he is representing himself. […]

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