Joseph Naso Kept Safe Deposit Boxes Related To Women He Murdered, Prosecutors Say
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. -- A man charged with killing four Northern California women kept a safety deposit box to store items related to the victims, and another he used for money, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Marin County prosecutor Rosemary Slote said during a pretrial hearing that the safety deposit boxes are key evidence in the case against Joseph Naso. Slote was seeking to subpoena bank records to confirm the box belonged solely to Naso.
"He had two boxes, one with items related to victims of this case and a second with monies," Slote said. "The fact that there are two safe deposit boxes is significant in this case."
The 77-year-old Naso, who sat during a hearing Tuesday shackled and clutching a manila envelope with his handwritten legal documents, is charged with the murders in the 1970s and 1990s of four prostitutes with matching initials: Roxene Roggasch, Carmen Colon, Pamela Parsons and Tracy Tafoya. Authorities in other states are also looking at Naso in connection with unsolved killings.
According to investigative documents unsealed in the case, Naso kept a list in his Reno, Nev., home that described 10 women, including the four victims. Authorities have not said if the remaining six have been located.
Investigators also found DNA from Naso's ex-wife, Judith Naso, on pantyhose used to strangle one of the victims. Officials said they found numerous nude photos of women who appeared to be dead or passed out, along with logs and journals at his home and in the safety deposit box.
Naso is currently acting as his own attorney in what could be a capital case. He objected to the district attorney's efforts to subpoena the bank records.
But Judge Andrew Sweet said bank information about safety deposit boxes is not privileged, and allowed it to be gathered as prosecutors continue assembling evidence to present at Naso's preliminary hearing, currently scheduled to begin Sept. 9. Whether prosecutors can use the evidence at the preliminary hearing will be decided later, Sweet said.
Naso has also requested a publicly funded legal adviser to help him prepare his defense.
Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian has objected using public money to aid Naso, saying the defendant has almost $1 million in assets, including a home in Reno, Nev., and can afford to hire his own attorney. Also, Nevada officials recently released $150,000 of Naso's money that they had frozen as part of a separate investigation, according to Berberian.
But Naso said Tuesday he had trouble getting money from jail from his bank accounts, which he needs to hire private investigators and pay other costs associated with his defense.
He took issue with Berberian's statements about his wealth.
"Prosecutors should refrain from announcing the defendant's assets in open court," Naso said. "It's an issue between the defendant and the court."
Sweet has appointed someone to investigate Naso's assets and said he would conduct a hearing on whether or not to provide a publicly funded legal adviser Friday.