SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (AP) — The murder trial of Joseph Naso, charged with the decades-old slayings of four women in Northern California, is set to get under way Monday, with both sides presenting opening statements.
Throughout the 79-year-old defendant's preliminary hearing, prosecutors painted Naso as a "sexual deviant" who drugged and photographed his unconscious victims, then strangled them and dumped their naked bodies in rural areas.
Prosecutors said all of his alleged victims were prostitutes, and all had matching initials: 18-year-old Roxene Roggasch in 1977; 22-year-old Carmen Colon in 1978; 38-year-old Pamela Parsons in 1993; and 31-year-old Tracy Tafoya in 1994, leading to the "Double Initial" moniker.
Authorities around the country were also looking at Naso as a suspect in more cold cases, but none have thus far come to light.
Naso, a former photographer who is representing himself with the help of a legal adviser, has pleaded not guilty.
Marin County prosecutors have built a significant case against Naso.
Investigators discovered DNA matching Naso's profile on at least one victim, Roggasch.
Also discovered were photographs — including images of at least one of the victims in the case — and what prosecutors called a "rape journal" during a search of Naso's Reno, Nev., home.
Naso characterized the sadistic photographs as his art, and said all of his "models" were willing participants.
Near the pile of photos in Naso's home — with mannequin parts and women's lingerie strewn about — investigators said they also found a "List of 10" he had scrawled with descriptions of 10 women, including four references prosecutors believe describe the slaying victims in this case.
There is no indication that any of the six other women referred to on the list have been identified, but prosecutors have said the investigation is ongoing.
Investigators testified previously that Naso kept $152,400 in cash, along with news clippings covering the slayings of Parsons and Tafoya, and other personal items from women, in a safe deposit box.