Elderly Cold Case Murder Suspect Wants To Represent Himself

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (AP) — A Nevada man charged with killing four women whose bodies were found across Northern California between the 1970s and 1990s asked Wednesday to act as his own lawyer in the murder case.

Joseph Naso also is being investigated in cold cases around the country. Investigators are looking for victims who had matching initials for their first and last names, similar to the four women in California Naso is accused of killing: Carmen Colon, Roxene Roggasch, Pamela Parsons and Tracy Tafoya.

During the brief Wednesday morning hearing, Naso, 77, addressed the court for the first time, telling the judge that he wanted to represent himself.

“I’ve given this case a lot of thought, and I’ve been alone with myself for weeks,” Naso said, appearing composed as he spoke with shackles on his wrists, a red-striped jail shirt and a fresh haircut.

“I’ve decided, looking at the big picture and everything I’m facing, that now I will represent myself,” he said.

Naso also asked to review the evidence against him before entering a plea to four counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances, charges that would make him eligible for the death penalty.

Judge Andrew Sweet took the request into consideration and set another hearing for May 5 to discuss the issue again.

At Naso’s initial arraignment on April 13, prosecutors had argued that he should hire a private attorney, citing evidence that the freelance photographer has nearly $1 million in assets.

Chief Deputy Public Defender David Brown confirmed to the court Wednesday that Naso does not qualify for a public defender.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

  • John

    Don’t let him represent himself! He’s gonna play the “crazy” role to try and get off the hook. At 77 he’s probably either going senile or he already is.

  • Matthew Parvin

    Joseph Naso has to be crazy, only crazy people kill and obviously this guy has gotten away with it and I think he has murdered more than just four, seriell killers do that. Only when they are in fear of being caught, do they stop, and only for a while….I think they should investigate whether or not other murders he may have commited too…

  • Matthew Parvin

    Actually, they should let him represent himself, because then, we’ll be assured of a conviction…

  • mreros

    Does ‘serial’ killer signify that cheerios, corn flakes or something similar was found at the crime scenes?

  • Codi Preston

    For goodness sakes it doesn’t really even matter!! How much longer do you think
    this old fool is going to live anyway?? I’m against the death penalty, for the
    record, but regardless of what you think, the death penalty DOES NOT WORK
    in California. It takes about 30 years for a convicted murderer to be executed,
    if he is ever executed at all. And I fully doubt Joseph Naso will still be alive in
    30 years, so it doesn’t even really matter…he would be 107 years old in 30 years. And I doubt he will live to be 107 years old.
    The worst thing is that we put people on death row for 30 years, and then they appeal and appeal and appeal. If we just gave them a life sentence from day one, do you know how much money we’d be saving?? There are 670+
    inmates on California’s death row and appealing for 30 years, at millions
    and millions an inmate, that figure could just eliminate our financial deficit
    debt in the state of California if we sentenced them to life instead. Use
    the money for more important things, such as education and preventing
    children from turning into criminals in the first place!! And there ought to be
    more funding for special ed children too. If I had received help when I was
    a toddler, preschooler, elementary school child, etc. for my Autism,
    I probably wouldn’t be emotionally and socially like a 4 1/2 – 5 year old
    right now. Yes, I’m 35 in May, but I totally act like a 5 year old on most days,
    and I love Barney, Care Bears, Maurice Sendak’s Little Bear, Teletubbies,
    Arthur, Wimzie’s House, etc. I also do not know how to understand my
    own age group, and most of my friends are either children or they are older
    adults that are 40+ years old. Don’t you think if I had gotten help like I should have, I wouldn’t be like this now and I would have a job?? Instead, I’m
    volunteering at a Bay Area library working with 3-5 1/2 year olds at
    preschooler Storytime, alongside my children’s librarian friend. The kids
    certainly enjoy me, but couldn’t I have been a greater asset to society
    somewhere else in some job if I had gotten the help I should have gotten?
    Instead, I can’t hold a job and get Social Security. Of course, the 3-, 4-
    and 5- year olds enjoy me, and the fact I jump up when singing “Peanut,
    Peanut Butter, And Jelly” and it makes them jump even more higher,
    and they love it when I do “Five Little Monkeys Swinging From A Tree”
    (that’s the one with the Alligator in it). And also, Lucky Ladybug, an oldies
    song by Billy and Lillie, and Willie and the Hand Jive, and some other oldies
    my librarian friend decided to try like “Rockin Robin” by Bobby Day,
    “Whole Lot Of Shakin’ Going On” by Jerry Lee Lewis, and so on. I
    rile up the kids and entertain them. But that’s not a paid job and I feel
    like I’m not really a contributing member of society sometimes.

    The death penalty does NOT work in California. All the millions spent when
    one is sentenced to death is spent on appeals and the lawyers get
    rich, but everyone else suffers. There’s no winner in this game at all.
    And it takes 30 years. Look at Scott Peterson, who killed his wife
    Laci. I bet you anything in 30 years, he’ll still be sitting on death row at
    San Quentin with his 3 meals a day. And you know what? By then,
    I’ll be 65 years old and probably will be deceased, buried in some grave.
    Either that, or I’ll be drooling and wearing a diaper in some nursing home;
    I can’t even trust myself now that I’m like a 4 year old emotionally/socially.
    At age 65, I’ll probably be reduced to slobbering and drooling and suck on
    my thumb (or pacifier) and wait to die.

    And if you don’t think I have Autism (it’s more higher functioning Autism,
    although not Asperger’s) since I write so well, I know people who are
    severely handicapped with autism that can write just as well as me.
    And it took me 6 years to get a BA degree in Geography, and I was in
    college, including community college after my BA, for a total of 14 years.
    14 years!!! I feel let down. I got my BA degree, by the way, from
    California State University, Stanislaus in Turlock, California.

    Please Naso, plead guilty so we can get this over with, so at least I don’t
    have to see your face on the news every danged day like I see Obama
    on TV EVERY DAY.

    There are times that life gets so hard for me that I wish sometimes I
    stopped growing when I was 3 1/2 or 4 years old and stayed physically
    like a 4 year old the rest of my life, then at least I wouldn’t look so
    awkward and create confusion and judgements for people when they
    see me like a 5 year old behaviorally. No, instead I had to be 5 feet
    11 inches tall!! Grrrr… I wish I just stayed in nursery school.

    Codi from the San Francisco Bay Area, California

blog comments powered by Disqus
The Taz Show
LIVE: Monday through Friday from 6am – 6pm ET

Listen Live