naso.jpgThe Mission is known for its many quirky characters but one, a man you might have heard of named Joseph Naso, has been the quite the standout lately. Suspected of murdering at least four women, the Chron reported a few days ago that Naso spent some of the early 80s in the Mission, demonstrating many of the traits some today might associate with the subculture known as the “Mission Hipster.”

Margaret Prisco moved to an apartment building at 18th and Oakwood in 1981 with her husband Thaddeus Iorizzo. The young couple affectionately referred to their downstairs neighbor as “Crazy Joe.”

Says Iorizzo, “Each time we crossed paths, I got an awful feeling that there was something wrong with him. It was a feeling that gave me real chills.” But while finding him absolutely insane, they didn’t complete suspect him as a killer. From the Chron:

Iorizzo recalled the awkward exchange one day at the trash bin, where he said Naso was dumping pornographic magazines. “Real brutal stuff,” Iorizzo said. “Stuff for madmen. He kept saying, ‘This isn’t mine, this isn’t mine.’ ”

Another neighbor who still lives in the building since moving there in 1974 (tangent: can you imagine how low his rent must be?) told the Chron that “Naso had a drinking problem and was prone to getting in fights.”

The couple moved out of SF due to Iorizzo’s odd feelings about their neighbor, as SFist reports. The decision might have saved Prisco’s life, as they found out when the Nevada Department of Public Safety called her last April.

Naso had violated his probation when officials discovered boxes of notebooks detailing the various murders Naso had committed and planned. Three of the notebooks were dedicated solely to Prisco, who was number 10 on his hit-list. Prisco says she had no idea that her former neighbor was not only a potential serial killer but was after her.

Hmm, let’s see — while plotting the demise of your neighbors, drinking too much, and “really brutal” porn, can be, as you see by the previous links, Mission traditions, they’re certainly not Only In The Mission behaviors. But add that obsessive journaling (the 1981 version of blogging, obviously) and an interesting picture begins to emerge.

Was Joseph Naso an early Mission hipster? It’s doubtful that we’ll ever know, and, frankly, “hipster” gets misused so frequently (especially in relation to the Mission) that it’s nearly meaningless anymore.

We just know that that the next time your drunk neighbor yells “I’ll kill you!” as Naso allegedly did to Iorizzo in 1981, we hope you take that threat a bit more seriously.

Photo of Naso: Nevada State Police

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the author

Always in motion. April Siese writes about music, takes photos at shows, and even helps put them on behind the scenes as a stagehand. She's written everything from hard news to beauty features, as well as fiction and poetry. She most definitely likes pie.

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