California Serial Killer Joseph Naso Gets Death Sentence

California Serial Killer Joseph Naso Gets Death Sentence


A judge in California has given an alleged serial killer the sentence of death for the decades-old murders of three women, and a life sentence in prison for the killing of the fourth.

Judge Andrew Sweet of the Marin County Superior Court called Joseph Naso, age 79, an “evil and disturbed man” when he gave out the verdict on Friday. Jurors were for the death penalty in this case. He denied the serial killer’s motions for a new trial and refused to listen to any more claims that Naso was innocent.

The former profession photographer, who had been living in Reno, Nevada when he was arrested back in 2011, was found guilty of fatally choking four prostitutes in the northern California area. The women all had matching initials: Carmen Colon, Pamela Parsons, Roxene Roggasch and Tracy Tafoya.

Naso blamed the murders on another person, and said that evidence against him had been planted. He stated the murder case against him was politically motivated. The killings had been dubbed the “double initial killings” by numerous individuals because all the victims had matching first and last initials.

The aging defendant represented himself at the trial, and he came off as ornery and confused. Joseph Naso called up five different witnesses, but did not take the stand himself.

However he did add in closing argument that he told the jury he was not a monster and he had not killed any of the women.

Joseph Naso’s weak testament did not sway the jurors. They gave him death anyway. The death sentences, which are set to run one after the other, are for the murders of Carmen Colon, age 22,  whose body was discovered in 1978; Pamela Parsons, age 38, whose remains was found in 1993; and Tracy Tafoya, age 31, who was found in 1994.

In the murder case of Roxene Roggasch, age 18, who was discovered 1977; Judge Sweet had to give Naso life without parole because the death penalty not available in California when she was murdered. Joseph Naso’s DNA was found linked to Roggasch.

The prosecution maintained that each of the women had been raped, strangled and then dumped along country roads.

Judge Sweet explained during that trial that each of the killings were very brutal, vicious and had been committed with an extremely high degree of cruelty. He added that the motives behind the murders were sexual, and deliberately planned. They were committed out of malicious revenge. There had been testimony given during the trial that Parsons had allegedly stolen one of Joseph Naso’s cameras from a photography session.

The judge stated that all the women endured a repulsive degree of misery and humiliation. Prosecutors also helped to prove this point by showing a trove of evidence which had been taken from Joseph Naso’s Nevada home. Some of the items included photographs of basically nude women which appeared dead and there was a journal in which there were descriptions of violent rapes of frequent underage girls and women going all the way back to the 1950’s.

The police also found a list which featured accounts and locations to where the killings had happened and also the areas in which the bodies were taken to be dumped.

During the sentencing phase of Joseph Naso’s trial, Rachel Smith, which was one of Carmen Colon’s daughters, was able to address the court.

She stated that she did not want Naso to die. She said she wanted the killer of her mother to sit alone in prison and have everything taken away from him.

Roggasch’s son Shane Ashby spoke to the court and said that Joseph Naso had taken away his mother and his childhood.

Even though Naso has been given the death penalty, it is not likely he will ever see the inside of California death chamber. All death row sentences have been on hold in that state since 2006 due to problems within the system itself.


By Kimberly Ruble

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