Remember Joseph Naso, the 79-year-old guy who was arrested two years ago on suspicion of multiple murders of women in northern California between the 1970s and the 1990s? Well, his trial is finally beginning today in Marin County, and it's expected to go on for about five months, with Naso still serving as his own attorney.
Naso is currently accused of killing four women, all of whom had the same first and last initial a pattern that is eerily similar to the unsolved Alphabet Murders in the early 1970s in upstate New York, prompting at least one detective to suggest that Naso's spree may extend much further. Also, prosecutors believe there are other victims, especially after finding a list of ten women in Naso's home who appeared to be Naso's targets, including the four in this case: Roxene Roggasch, 18, who was found near Fairfax in 1977; Carmen Colon, 22, found near Port Costa in 1978; Pamela Parsons, 38, found in Yuba County in 1993; and Tracy Tafoya, 31, found in Yuba County in 1994.
Naso was a commercial photographer, and his defense appears to rest on the argument that the trove of photographs of dead and/or unconscious women found in his house and safety deposit box are "art," and merely reflective of his "dark side." He claims the poses were all staged, and the subjects were mostly former girlfriends.
From our side of things, and from the photos of Naso in court, we'd guess he only really has a dark side. And you may recall the chilling account of the San Francisco couple who lived upstairs from Naso in the early 80s, and how investigators in 2011 found three composition notebooks full of details of how Naso planned to torture the woman, Margaret Prisco, though he never got the chance.
The prosecution meanwhile has some physical evidence connecting Naso to at least one of the murders: His DNA was found on Roggasch's pantyhose, and another pair of pantyhose used to strangle her contained the DNA of Naso's estranged wife, Judith Naso of Piedmont.
As the Marin Independent Journal reports, the jury consists of six men and six women ranging from 19 to 79 years old, along with nine alternates. There will likely be many updates on this case throughout the summer, so stay tuned.