Serial-killing defendant's disturbing photos
A probation officer who discovered photos of naked women in an alleged serial killer's home testified Tuesday that the women were posed in "various unnatural positions" and appeared to be dead.
During the first day of a preliminary hearing in San Rafael for Joseph Naso, 78, Officer Roger Jacobs of the Nevada Department of Public Safety said he had found numerous photographs of women who appeared "to have morbidity" during an April 2010 visit to Naso's Reno home. He also found a handwritten list referring to 10 women, he said.
Jacobs said he had asked Naso, "Did you hurt any of these girls?" Naso responded, "They were old girlfriends," the probation officer said.
Marin County prosecutors have charged Naso with murdering four of the women believed to be included on the list, all of whom were found in Northern California: Roxene Roggasch in 1977; Carmen Colon in 1978; Pamela Parsons in 1993; and Tracy Tafoya in 1994.
Naso's arrest gained national attention because each victim's first and last name started with the same letter, raising speculation that he targeted such women. He has pleaded not guilty, and if convicted could face the death penalty.
On Tuesday, prosecutors said investigators were still trying to determine what became of the other six women on Naso's list.
Jacobs read the list slowly in court. It included what prosecutors believe were references to Colon - "girl near Port Costa," where her body was found - and Roggasch, "girl near Lagunitas," where she was discovered.
It also referred to "girl from Linda," the Yuba County town where Parsons' body was found, and "girl from Mrv (cemetery)." Prosecutors say that was a reference to Tafoya, whose body was found near a graveyard in Marysville.
Naso, who is representing himself, cross-examined Jacobs and challenged the probation officer's description that his photographs were of dead women.
He said Jacobs had found the pictures on a table in his art room, where he kept posters, loose photos and mounted pictures of fine art. He likened the photos to choreographed images found in horror movies and considered them art.
"Can you appreciate other people have interests and hobbies that you may not be acquainted with?" Naso asked. "Including artwork and photography they make for their own personal pleasure?"
Jacobs said the photographs, which were among 10,000 documents removed from Naso's home, showed women with exposed genitals in positions that were "unnatural, uncomfortable and unsustainable."
The preliminary hearing in Marin County Superior Court is expected to last at least two weeks. At its conclusion, Judge Andrew Sweet will decide whether there is enough evidence to hold Naso for trial.