Naso gives I-Team letter; jury begins deliberations

August 21, 2013 1:45:41 PM PDT
The jury in a Marin County serial killer case began deliberations Monday afternoon. The defendant is 79-year-old Joseph Naso. He acted as his own attorney and finished closing arguments. He then had a letter slipped to the I-Team in an attempt to draw attention to other suspects.

With his life on the line in this death penalty case, Naso pushed the limits in his closing argument, trying to introduce new evidence. He said, "The prosecution cannot prove I am capable of lifting over 30 pounds due to a bad back," and that he wouldn't have been capable of killing the four Northern California women in the late 1970s and early 1990s and dumping their bodies. Naso finished by saying, "I ask you now to find me not guilty on all counts."

His rambling closing arguments that took a day and a half did not seem to sway courtroom observers.

"They were just repetitive and didn't really say anything. He didn't, I don't believe, he sold his case or his side of it," said courtroom observer Susan Orma.

"I think there's a couple things that he hasn't adequately explained, the list, he hasn't ever really explained that list and he's not adequately explained the DNA," said courtroom observer and attorney Barry Kanel.

During the rebuttal, the prosecution honed in on that list found in a search of Naso's Reno home -- what investigators labeled "a dump list" of where he placed the bodies. Naso's DNA was found on two of the victims. Deputy District Attorney Rosemary Slote characterized photos of the victims and their obituaries Naso kept in a safe deposit box as his trophies.

Also on Monday, Naso had a sealed letter hand-delivered to the I-Team, discussing other suspects in the death of Roxene Roggasch near Fairfax in Marin County, January 1977.

The letter reads, "Mr. Rochelle was known to force prostitutes in the trunk of his car, tie them with panty hose."

The letter should have no effect on this case since the jury members are not supposed to view any media reports or discuss the case outside of deliberations.

The closing arguments were delayed for most of the morning, because of Rogassch's brother.

"This is my sister that was murdered 38 years ago and I'm not going to let it drop. I'm going to go after this man until he's done," said Larry Roggasch, victim's brother.

Larry parked his car near the courtroom entrance, and wrote on it, "Joe Naso is being charged for the murder of my sister." He asked for money to help him stay in San Rafael until the trial is complete. Naso raised a concern that jurors may have seen the truck.

Noyes: "The judge says that he'd rather you not do this because you may have an impact on the jury and the jury should be deciding the case on the evidence."
Larry: "No disrespect to the judge, but I feel there's no impact to the jury at all on this."

And the judge agreed, ruling that no jurors should be dismissed. He found that only one of them saw the truck on Monday, but didn't bother to read the writing. The case is now in the jury's hands.


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