Prosecutors on Tuesday are scheduled to begin presenting their case against Joseph Naso, the 78-year-old photographer charged with killing four northern California women with matching initials in the 1970s and 1990s.
The preliminary hearing against Naso, who is representing himself in what could be a death penalty case, will be the first time Marin County prosecutors will publicly detail their case. Naso has pleaded not guilty.
Even though prosecutors have been largely mum about the case, some details have emerged since Naso was arrested in April following a routine search of his Reno, Nev. home for a parole violation.
Investigators found that Naso kept a numbered list of 10 women including the four prostitutes he is charged with killing, and kept news clippings of the slayings in a safety deposit box, according to a probable cause statement released last year.
So far, prosecutors have not said if they had identified the six other women mentioned on Naso’s list. But investigators in other areas of the country said they were looking at Naso in connection with other cold cases.
Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian did not return a message seeking comment. At the hearing scheduled Tuesday, prosecutors will begin presenting evidence to the judge, who will decide if they have enough to try Naso.
Naso is charged with killing Roxene Roggasch, Carmen Colon, Pamela Parsons and Tracy Tafoya between 1977 and 1994.
According to the probable cause statement, Naso may have used his then-wife’s panty hose to strangle Roggasch, a prostitute whose 1977 murder has been unsolved for decades. Authorities say the DNA of Naso’s ex-wife was found on the hose.
Roggasch’s body was found near Lagunitas, a small town near the coast in Marin County.
Colon’s decomposed body was found in 1978 by a California Highway Patrol officer in Contra Costa County. Authorities have said that DNA evidence collected from her fingernails could tie Naso to her slaying.
Parsons’ strangled body was found in Yuba City in 1993, where Naso was living at the time with his mentally ill son. Court documents state that Naso had also photographed Parsons.
Tafoya was also a Yuba City woman killed when Naso lived there. Her body was found on the side of Highway 70 near Marysville Cemetery in 1994.