Defendant in 4 Calif killings pleads not guilty

AP News
Posted: May 27, 2011 2:05 PM
Defendant in 4 Calif killings pleads not guilty

A man charged with killing four Northern California women with matching first and last initials pleaded not guilty Friday to four counts of murder with special circumstances that could bring the death penalty.

Joseph Naso, 77, who is acting as his own attorney, entered the plea in a Marin County courtroom then asked for the case against him to be thrown out.

In filing the dismissal motion, Naso addressed what prosecutors have put forward as key evidence linking him to the deaths _ hundreds of photographs of women in various sexual poses.

"There were no photos in the defendant's home that show women in forced posing, forced bondage or being deceased," Naso said, reading glasses perched on his nose. "All the women were posed under free will."

The four victims in the case were killed in the 1970s and 1990s. All had matching initials: Carmen Colon, Roxene Roggasch, Pamela Parsons and Tracy Tafoya.

Naso is also being investigated for possible links to New York's "Double Initial Murders" of three girls, each with matching initials, in the early 1970s.

Naso was arrested in April after a yearlong investigation spurred by the discovery by a parole officer of hundreds of photographs, some of women in bondage and other poses, and journals.

Margaret Prisco and Thaddeus Iorizzo, two former neighbors of Naso, were interviewed by detectives then told The Associated Press the journals contained torture fantasies and lists of names of women.

Naso said Friday that nowhere in the evidence were the "names, descriptions or the intended fate" of the four women that he is charged with murdering.

Shackled and wearing red-and-white jail clothes, Naso then calmly asked for his release.

Prosecutors will file a reply to Naso's request and the judge will make a ruling.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for July 11, when prosecutors will present the bulk of their evidence so the judge can rule if there is enough to send Naso to trial.