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Unsealed Documents Detail Probable Cause for Naso's Murder Arrest

Hand-written notes, photographs and newspaper articles provided cause to arrest Joseph Naso for four murders.

Marin County Superior Court Judge Andrew E. Sweet unsealed documents today that detail the probable cause for a.

The documents cite evidence that includes DNA, writings, newspaper articles, women's photos and a list of women's names and locations that allegedly implicate the former self-employed photographer in the slayings.

Naso, 77, of Reno, Nev., was arrested without a warrant by Marin County Sheriff's investigators on April 11 in South Lake Tahoe when he was released from the El Dorado County jail where he was serving one year for a probation violation.

He is charged with the murders of Roxene Roggasch, 18, of Oakland; Carmen Lorraine Colon, 22, an East Bay resident; and Pamela Parsons, 38, and Tracey Tayofa, 31, both of Yuba County.

The probable cause documents state all four women were working as prostitutes at the time of their deaths.

Sweet sealed the documents at the request of the Marin County District Attorney's Office. Naso, , also asked the documents remain sealed.

Several Bay Area and Nevada media organizations challenged the sealing, arguing they are public court records, and Sweet postponed ruing on the issue after a hearing on May 25.

In his June 14 ruling, Sweet concluded that unsealing the probable cause statements would neither prejudice Naso's right to a fair trial nor the ongoing investigation. Most of the contents of the probable cause statements have already been reported in the media, and "remaining matter will likely be revealed to the public during the preliminary hearing scheduled to commence on July 11," Sweet said. Sweet also determined the probable cause documents qualified as public court records.

The probable cause for Naso's arrest for the four murders is based on materials taken from his Reno home during a search by the Nevada Department of Public Safety on April 13.

Investigators found photos of nude women, women wearing lingerie or pantyhose and women in bondage poses, according to the probable cause statement filed by Marin County Sheriff's investigator Ryan Petersen.

Some of the woman appeared passed out or deceased and investigators also found a hand-written list with the names of 10 different women and 10 different locations, according to Petersen.         

No. 3 on the list was "Girl near Loganitas."

Petersen said this seemed related to the unsolved Jan. 11, 1977, murder of Roggasch. Her body was found on the side of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard near White's Hill in Fairfax, four miles east of Lagunitas. 

Roggasch had been working as a prostitute in the East Bay near where Naso lived at the time of her death, Petersen said. She was strangled and bound with pantyhose. Tests revealed the DNA of Naso's wife Judith was found on the pantyhose around Roggasch's neck, Petersen said.

The probable cause statement regarding Colon cites a hand-written entry "Girl near Port Costa" on the list of women. 

A California Highway Patrol officer found Colon's naked, decomposed body, identified through fingerprints, on Aug. 13, 1978. It had been dumped over the side of Carquinez Scenic Drive just outside Port Costa in Contra Costa County, according to Petersen's statement.

Colon also worked as a prostitute near Naso's East Bay residence, Petersen said.

A partial DNA profile obtained from Colon's fingernail clippings included Naso as a possible contributor, Petersen said.

A pathologist determined Colon died of "homicidal violence of undetermined origin."

Colon told her sister she was having her photo taken, and Naso admitted taking photographs of numerous women, including prostitutes, Petersen said.

Tafoya, who was also working as a prostitute, went missing from the Yuba City area on Aug. 6, 1994, Petersen said. Her body was found dumped on the side of Highway 70 next to Marysville Cemetery near Naso's residence, Petersen said.

The death was ruled a homicide because of the location and condition of her body, Petersen said.

The last entry on the handwritten list with the names of 10 women and 10 different locations made reference to a girl from Marysville with "cemetery" written next to it, Petersen said. 

Nevada Department of Public Safety investigators found newspaper articles and photos related to Tafoya's death inside Naso's safety deposit box, and writings about her disappearance and death in Naso's home, Petersen said.

Parsons' body was found on Sept. 19, 1993, in a rural area of Yuba County near where Naso lived and worked, Petersen said.

Parsons, who also was working as a prostitute, had been strangled, Petersen said.

A search of Naso's safety deposit boxes in his Reno home contained photos of Parsons and newspaper articles regarding her death, Petersen said.

Writings, logs, additional photos, and a calendar from 1993 detailing Naso's daily activity related to Parsons also were found inside his residence, Petersen said.

Naso admitted he had taken photos of Parsons and documented items he frequently sold at flea markets, including the Marysville flea market, Petersen said. Naso documents that on Sept. 18 and 19, 1993, he was at the Marysville flea market -- 1.5 miles from where Parsons' body was found, Petersen said. 

Parsons was from Linda, and "Girl from Linda" is No. 9 on Naso's list of women, Petersen said.

Naso is being held without bail in Marin County Jail.

New York authorities are also investigating whether he is a suspect in the strangulation murders of three Catholic girls ages 10 and 11 between 1971 and 1973 in the Rochester area in Monroe County. Naso lived in that area in the 1960s and is believed to have moved west in 1969, New York State Police said.

All seven California and New York victims' names had double initials.

-- Bay City News

ron ratchford June 17, 2011 at 06:56 PM
News of a murder trial filters an adult theme into a site that is largely directed towards family and children. A tabloid trait that needs to be noticed as a negative trait/

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