Opening statements are scheduled this morning at the trial of alleged serial killer Joseph Naso before Marin County Superior Court Judge Andrew Sweet.
Naso is charged with the murder of Roxene Roggasch, 18, of Oakland, whose body was found in Marin County on Jan. 11, 1977; Carmen Colon, 22, an East Bay resident, whose body was found in Contra Costa County on Aug. 15, 1978; Pamela Parsons, 38, of Yuba County whose body was found on Sept, 19, 1993 in Yuba County; and Tracy Tafoya, 31, whose body was found on Aug. 14, 1994 in Yuba County.
The victims’ bodies were found in along rural roads in Yuba, Marin and Contra Costa counties.
The prosecution is alleging Naso met the women, who were working as prostitutes, during the course of his work photographing models.
During the preliminary hearing in January 2012, the prosecution presented evidence from pathologists who testified the women died of asphyxiation likely due to strangulation.
Roggasch’s body was found on the side of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard on the eastern slope of White’s Hill in Fairfax on Jan. 11, 1977. She was wearing panty hose inside out, according to the prosecution’s witness, Contra Costa County sheriff’s Dep. Tuan Nguyen.
Nguyen, a criminalist who processed the panty hose for DNA evidence, testified that Naso’s wife Judith’s DNA was found on one pair of panty hose, and semen from two males were found on another pair. One of the semen samples likely came from Naso, Nguyen testified.
Another pair of panty hose was around Roggasch’s neck, a third pair was in her mouth and a fourth pair was wrapped around her mouth, Nguyen said.
Yuba County sheriff’s Capt. Alan Long testified at the preliminary hearing that there were ligature marks on Parsons’ neck, wrists and ankles and bruises on her naked body.
Long testified Tafoya’s decomposing naked body was 20 to 25 feet off state Highway 70 near Marysville, and she was identified by fingerprints.
Colon’s body was found by California Highway Patrol Officer Billy Doyle off the side of Carquinez Scenic Drive near Point Costa in Contra Costa County.
Pathologists testified Roggasch, Parsons and Colon died of asphyxia caused by strangulation, and Tafoya likely met the same fate but her body was too decomposed to make a definitive cause of death.
The prosecution is alleging the murders were committed during sexual battery and false imprisonment and reflect the dominance and control of women depicted in photographs found in Naso’s Reno home.
Naso, a self-employed modeling photographer, photographed nude and partially nude women in heels, lingerie and garters in poses that made them appear dead, incapacitated or unconscious, according to testimony at Naso’s preliminary hearing.
Naso, who has been serving as his own attorney, said he had many dates and girlfriends who willingly posed for the photographs.
Naso said all of the prosecution’s evidence at the preliminary hearing was circumstantial. He faces the death penalty if convicted of committing multiple murders.
Attorney Pedro Oliveros of the Marin County Public Defender’s Office will serve as Naso’s advisory counsel during the trial. He said his role is helping Naso with questions regarding the law and trial procedure.
The trial is expected to last until mid-November. There will be no trial on the weeks of July 15 and July 22 and testimony will resume July 29. There also will be no trial sessions on Thursdays.
There are six men and six women on the panel and nine alternate jurors also were selected.
Oliveros said he could not disclose who Naso plans to call as witnesses, but Naso intends to give an opening statement to the jury most likely this afternoon.
James Lanaras, Bay City News