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Accused NorCal Serial Killer Allowed To Represent Himself Again

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Joseph Naso (L) during his first court appearance in San Rafael. (CBS)

Joseph Naso (L) during his first court appearance in San Rafael. (CBS)

SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) — Accused serial killer Joseph Naso once again is his own attorney.

Marin County Superior Court Judge Andrew Sweet on Friday granted Naso’s motion to represent himself on charges of killing four Northern California women—two from the Bay Area—between 1977 and 1994, Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian confirmed Friday afternoon.

“Legally, he (Judge Sweet) had to grant the request. He (Naso) has that right,” Berberian said.

Naso, 77, of Reno, had been representing himself since his arrest in April, but on Sept. 2 he told Sweet he decided he wanted a public defender to represent him.

After Naso and Marin County Chief Deputy Public Defender David Brown met in a closed courtroom for more than a half hour, Sweet then appointed Brown Naso’s attorney and said Naso must pay for it.

The judge then set Oct. 11 as the date to set a firm date for preliminary hearing.

Friday’s turn of events means the preliminary hearing, at which the prosecution will present its evidence against Naso, will be Jan. 3.

Naso has expressed concerns in court about the expense of retaining a lawyer. He has claimed he cannot access his assets in Nevada and also said he suspects someone has taken money from his Wells Fargo bank accounts.

The Marin County District Attorney’s Office asserts Naso has $1 million in liquid assets.

Naso is charged with the murders of Roxene Roggasch, 18, of Oakland; Carmen Colon, 22, an East Bay resident; Pamela Parsons, 38; and Tracy Tafoya, 31, both of Yuba County.

Roggasch’s body was found in Marin County and Colon’s was found in Contra Costa County.

Naso was arrested without a warrant by Marin County Sheriff’s investigators on April 11 in South Lake Tahoe when he was released from the El Dorado County jail where he was serving one year for a probation violation.

The probable cause documents in support of his arrest state all four women were working as prostitutes at the time of their deaths.

The documents cite evidence that includes DNA, writings, newspaper articles, women’s photos and a list of women’s names and locations that allegedly implicate the former self-employed photographer of aspiring models in the killings.

New York authorities have determined Naso is no longer a suspect in the strangulation murders of three Catholic girls ages 10 and 11 between 1971 and 1973 in the Rochester, Monroe County area.

Naso lived in that area in the 1960s and is believed to have moved west in 1969, New York State Police said.

All seven California and New York murder victims’ names had double initials.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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