A man accused of killing four Northern California women, including two in the Bay Area, made his first appearance in Marin County Superior Court this afternoon to be arraigned.
Joseph Naso, 77, of Reno, is charged with four counts of murder. He also faces special-circumstance allegations for committing multiple murders, which makes him eligible for the death penalty.
He is suspected of killing Roxene Roggasch, 18, of Oakland, whose body was found on Jan. 10, 1977, on White's Hill near Fairfax.
Naso is also accused of killing 22-year-old Carmen Colon, whose body was found near Port Costa in northern Contra Costa County in 1978, and Pamela Parsons, 38, and Tracey Tafoya, 31, who were found dead in Yuba County in 1993 and 1994, respectively.
Naso, who appeared in court in shackles and wearing an orange-and-white jail outfit and black-rimmed glasses, did not enter a plea and does not yet have an attorney.
District Attorney Ed Berberian said Naso has nearly $1 million in assets and argued that he should retain private counsel rather than be represented by the public defender's office.
Berberian said outside of court afterward that he would wait until Naso has an attorney to decide whether to pursue the death penalty.
Naso did not speak in court but looked up at Judge Paul Haakenson when he was speaking to attorneys.
He will return to court to appear before Judge Andrew Sweet on April 27.
Naso's arrest has homicide investigators all over the country re-examining cold cases to see if there may be any links to the four California murders.
A New York State Police investigator said today that Naso used to live in the Rochester, N.Y., area, where three girls ages 10 and 11 were strangled between 1971 and 1973.
The first and last names of those victims and the women killed in California began with the same letter, and two of the victims had the same name, Carmen Colon. The New York slayings were referred to as the "double-initial" murders.
The Rochester victims are Carmen Colon, 10, and Wanda Walkowicz and Michelle Maenza, both 11, New York State Police senior investigator Allan Dombroski said.
All three girls were Catholic and all were strangled and dumped near Rochester in Monroe County in western New York near Lake Ontario, Dombroski said.
Four law enforcement agencies were involved in the investigation into the Rochester slayings, which is still open, Dombroski said.
Naso lived in the Rochester area in the 1960s and is believed to have moved west in 1969, Dombroski said.
Naso's DNA did not match the DNA in the Walkowicz case, Dombroski said.
Dombroski said New York State Police are aware of Naso's arrest and prosecution in California, but he said he could not comment on the ongoing investigations into the Rochester slayings.