SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) — A decision on whether suspected serial killer Joseph Naso will be held over for trial for allegedly killing four prostitutes between 1977 and 1999 was postponed Friday afternoon until at least Monday morning.
Marin County Superior Court Judge Andrew Sweet heard Deputy District Attorney Dori Ahana sum up the evidence that she and Deputy District Attorney Rosemary Slote presented against Naso over the last two weeks at his preliminary hearing.
Then Naso, 78, of Reno, delivered a long rebuttal Friday afternoon.
Sweet continued the conclusion of Naso’s statement until 9 a.m. Monday, after which he is expected to issue a ruling.
Naso, who photographed nude and partially nude women in heels, lingerie and garters, is charged with killing Roxene Roggasch, 18, of Oakland, in January 1977; Carmen Colon, 22, in Contra Costa County in August 1978; Pamela Parsons, 38, on Sept. 19, 1993, and Tracy Tafoya, 31, in August 1994, both in Yuba County.
Pathologists who performed autopsies on the women testified that all four died of asphyxiation due or likely due to strangulation, Ahana said.
Prosecutors presented evidence that the DNA of Naso’s now ex-wife Judith Naso was found on a pair of pantyhose that was used to strangle Roggasch.
Roggasch was also found wearing a pair of inside-out pantyhose that included DNA thought to be that of Joseph Naso, prosecutors said.
The District Attorney’s Office also presented a “list of ten” found in Naso’s home. The list contained the word “girl” or “lady” followed by geographic locations, four of which were where the murder victims were found.
During the hearing Naso said the list and a ledger found in his Reno home referred to the models he photographed or to his old girlfriends.
The prosecution’s evidence also included dozens of photographs of women who appeared unconscious, dead or incapacitated. A photo of Tafoya and several of Parsons’ photos were found in Naso’s home, prosecutors said.
Naso said Friday he had contact with Parsons but not the other three victims. He said he picked up Parsons while she was hitchhiking. She offered him sex and he refused, but she agreed to be photographed, he said.
Prosecutors also said an entry in a journal found in Naso’s home referred to Tafoya. It read: “Met Tracy. Put it to her.” The entry was made on Aug. 5, 1994, the last day Tafoya was seen alive, Ahana said.
Ahana said the photos of nude or partially nude women “mirrored” the way the four victims’ nude or partially nude bodies were found along roads in the three counties.
Ahana said the strangulations are consistent with testimony by Naso’s ex-girlfriend Betty Matheson, who testified Naso tried to choke her on a visit to her home.
Ahana said the murders were committed during sexual battery and false imprisonment. She said Naso had the knowledge and experience to commit the crimes, and the photos of the women found in his home speak for themselves.
“He actualized his sexual obsessions,” Ahana said.
Dominance and control of the women were a common feature in the photos and in their slayings, Ahana said.
“Nice speech, but it’s completely false,” Naso said after Ahana concluded her arguments.
He said the evidence against him is circumstantial.
None of the murder victims were found in heels, garters or lingerie, Naso noted.
“I’ve had lots of dates and girlfriends. This has nothing to do with power but with rapport,” Naso said.
“I can probably get half the women in this room to disrobe voluntarily,” Naso said.
“There is no evidence I committed these murders. Did I leave my signature or anything that belongs to me?” he asked.
Naso’s ex-wife testified that he asked her in a letter in September to say she lost her pantyhose or left them at work or a restaurant.
“I said, ‘Be sure to tell the truth,’” Naso said. “Her pantyhose did a lot of traveling. They left the house and never came back,” he said.
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