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Elderly Cold Case Murder Suspect Wants To Represent Himself

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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.)

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