A diary documenting the rapes and sexual assaults of underage girls and women was found alongside posed photographs of two murder victims in the home of a suspected serial killer, a court has heard.
Joseph Naso, 78, owned journals that contained dozens of sexual and violent images of women.
They were discovered in the former photographer’s home in Reno, Nevada, by a probation officer in April 2010, a preliminary hearing in San Rafael, California, was told yesterday.
Naso, who is acting as his own lawyer in what is likely to be a death penalty case, has pleaded not guilty to the murders of four prostitutes in the 1970s and 1990s.
He is alleged to be the infamous alphabet killer – also known as the double initial killer – and is said to have kept a numbered list of ten women.
These included the prostitutes he is charged with killing – Roxene Roggasch in 1977; Carmen Colon in 1978; Pamela Parsons in 1993; and Tracy Tafoya in 1994. All four had matching initials and were found in northern California.
One journal entry is said to have read: ‘Girl in north Buffalo woods. She was real pretty. Had to knock her out first.
Detective Richard Brown, of the Nevada Department of Public Safety and lead investigator on the case, said the journal was filled with such descriptions, and that Naso used the word rape in other sections.
White-haired and wearing leg shackles, Naso sat alone at the courtroom defence table with his head rested on his hand.
He listened as Marin County prosecutor Dori Ahana and Detective Brown detailed dozens of sexual and violent photographs of women seized from his home, objecting at times to their relevance.
The photographs showed many women unconscious or appearing dead, including two prostitutes Naso is charged with killing, Pamela Parsons and Tracy Tafoya.
‘Who is paying for all of this entertainment?’ Naso asked after hours of detailed testimony about the photos.
‘This is my private work, my photography. The women have been violated. What happens in a home is sacred and private. The whole thing is disgusting, and I don’t see the relevance at all.’
THE VICTIMS… ALL WITH DOUBLE INITIALS
The first victim was Roxene Roggasch, whose body was found in Fairfax in Marin County in 1977.
Police are investigating whether Carmen Colon (pictured) was killed by Naso in Rochester, New York, in the early 1970s. He is accused of killing another Carmen Colon in 1978
According to news archives, investigators interviewed a prostitute at the time who claimed her pimp kidnapped, tortured and killed the 18-year-old Roggasch.
No one was ever arrested.
The second victim was Carmen Colon, whose body was found near Port Costa in Contra Costa County a year later.
Pamela Parsons and Tracy Tafoya were separately found dead in Yuba County in 1993 and 1994 respectively.
Tafoya was 31 when she was killed, according to death records.
Parsons was a 38-year-old waitress whose body was found on a Marysville road, according to news archives.
Police are also investigating possible links to the notorious ‘double initial murder’ in Rochester, New York, in the 1970s.
Wanda Walkowicz, Michell Maenza and another Carmen Colon (pictured above) were all killed between 1971 and 1973.
The girls – aged 10 and 11 – were all abducted, raped and strangled.
Judge Andrew Sweet overruled Naso’s objection.
In one photograph of Parsons, Brown said she appeared to be dead.
Describing the image, he said: ‘I thought she was deceased. Her face doesn’t appear natural.’
Other photographs taken of the lower halves of women appeared to show the reddish-purple discolouration of the skin seen in dead people, Detective Brown said.
In a bedroom in Naso’s home, investigators also found a ‘List Of Ten’ that contained scrawled descriptions of ten women, including four references that prosecutors believe described the murder victims he is charged with killing.
The matching letters of each woman’s first and last names gave rise to the ‘Double Initial’ moniker for the case.
Six other women referred to on the list have not yet been identified, but prosecutors say the investigation is ongoing.
Authorities seized thousands of documents, calendars, ledgers, journals and photographs from Naso’s house.
In two safety deposit boxes, Naso kept $152,400 in cash, along with news clippings covering the murders of Parsons and Tafoya, and other personal items from women, the court heard.
Nevada probation Officer Wesley Jackson testified that he arrived in April 2010 to check Naso’s Nevada home for violations of his probation agreement and found food rotting on the kitchen counter and debris strewn about.
All the bedrooms were locked, and Mr Jackson said Naso resisted opening them for a time.
In Naso’s bedroom, Mr Jackson said, he found mannequin parts and a full mannequin clad in a red dress. Women’s lingerie was in the dresser drawers. In his garage, suitcases were found packed with mannequin legs clad in hosiery.
Further searches of the home turned up a box of knives and guns hidden behind a refrigerator in Naso’s garage, authorities said.
Naso was forbidden to have weapons due to probation from a felony larceny conviction in California.
Parsons’ strangled body was found in the Yuba City area of northern California in 1993, where Naso was living at the time with his mentally ill son. Court documents state that Naso had photographed Parsons.
A 1993 calendar Naso kept had an entry for September 15, Detective Brown said, that placed him in the area.
‘Stayed in (Yuba City) all day long. Took care of some old business,’ Detective Brown read from the calendar.
‘September 15 was the last time Parsons was known to be alive,’ he added.
Tafoya was killed in the area when Naso lived in Yuba City. Her body was found on the side of Highway 70 near Marysville Cemetery in 1994.
In a calendar entry dated August 6, 1994, Naso referred to meeting with a woman in Marysville near the time of Tafoya’s death.
‘Picked up a nice broad in (Marysville). 4pm. She came over for four hours. Took photographs. Nice legs. She ripped me off,’ Detective Brown read, adding: ‘That’s the last date Tracy Tafoya was known to be alive.’
Investigators have said Naso might have used his then-wife’s panty hose to strangle Roggasch, a prostitute whose 1977 murder went unsolved for decades.
Colon’s decomposed body was found near Port Costa 1978 by a California Highway Patrol officer in Contra Costa County. Authorities have said DNA evidence collected from her fingernails could tie Naso to her slaying.
Officials have previously said Naso was being investigated for possible links to New York’s ‘Double Initial Murders’ of three girls in the early 1970s.
However, no charges have been filed.
Due to his work as a photographer, Naso travelled between New York and California extensively for decades.
At the end of the preliminary hearing, the judge will determine if prosecutors have enough evidence to take Naso to trial.
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