Jury Begins Deliberations at Joseph Naso Trial

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBC Bay Area
    Accused serial killer Joseph Naso acted as his own attorney during his trial.

    Jurors began deliberations Monday after hearing evidence for two months in Marin County Superior Court at former commercial photographer Joseph Naso's trial for allegedly killing four prostitutes.

    The prosecution presented 70 witnesses and Naso called seven witnesses to the stand.

    He is charged with strangling the women whose bodies were found off the side of rural roads in Marin, Contra Costa and Yuba counties between 1977 and 1994.

    Deputy District Attorney Rosemary Slote told the jury in her closing argument Naso picked up the women in his car, took them home, strangled them and dumped their bodies.

    The prosecution presented DNA evidence it claims links Naso to the murders of Roxene Roggasch, 18, of Oakland and Carmen Colon, 22, an East Bay resident.

    Roggasch's body was found on Jan. 11, 1977, near Fairfax in Marin County and Colon's body was discovered off Carquinez Scenic Drive near Port Costa in Contra Costa County.

    The other victims are Yuba County residents Pamela Parsons, 38, of Linda, and Tracy Tafoya, 31. Parsons body was found on Sept. 19, 1993, in Yuba County and Tafoya's body was found in Yuba County on Aug. 14, 1994.

    Naso, 79, of Reno, has been representing himself. During his five-hour closing argument on Friday and today, Naso asked the jury to ignore the prosecution's attempt to "mislead" them with illegal circumstantial evidence and "inflame" them with photographs of the women's bodies.

    Naso told the jury if they disregard the prosecution's
    "tattletales" about his alleged past sexual offenses, they will be convinced he is not guilty of all four murders.

    Naso said he had no motive to kill anyone because he had a good family life and was involved in community service. He admitted he picked up Parsons hitchhiking and photographed her but said he didn't kill her.

    Regarding the prosecution's contention that his DNA was found in some semen in the pantyhose Roggasch was wearing inside out when her body was found, Naso said that would only prove he might have had sex with her.

    "But I don't remember," he said.

    Naso's wife Judith's DNA also was found in a pair of pantyhose that was wrapped around Roggash's neck, according to the prosecution.

    The prosecution also introduced diaries Naso kept that purportedly give accounts of women he raped in several cities between 1950 and 1970, and a handwritten list the prosecution believes refers to at least seven women, including the four murder victims, and where he dumped their bodies.

    Naso said his "date diaries," and the list do not contain the
    names of the alleged victims or time and place of any murders or alleged sexual assaults.

    "I'm not on trial for sexual assault," he told the jury several
    times during his closing statement.

    "This case is about murder not about events and activities that have never been charged as crimes," Naso said.

    Rather than refuting what Slote said the prosecution proved, Naso told the jury what was not proved.

    "The prosecution can't prove I am capable of lifting over 30
    pounds due to a bad back and torn rotator cuff in my left shoulder and a fracture in my left elbow," Naso told the jury.

    "The prosecution can't prove I'm capable of killing four people and transporting them long distances and dumping their bodies," he said.