January 7, 1934|
Rochester, New York, U.S.
|Other names||Crazy Joe|
Span of crimes
|April 11, 2011|
Joseph Naso (born January 7, 1934) is an American serial killer, sentenced to death for the murder of six women.
Joseph Naso was born on January 7, 1934 in Rochester, New York. After serving in the U.S. Air Force in the 1950s, he met his first wife Judith. Their marriage lasted for 18 years, but after the divorce Naso continued visiting his ex-wife who lived in the Bay Area. The couple had a son named Charles who later developed schizophrenia, and Naso spent his later years caring for him. Naso took classes in various San Francisco colleges in the 1970s and lived in the Mission District of San Francisco and then in Piedmont, California in the 1980s. He lived in Sacramento between 1999 and 2003, and finally settled in Reno, Nevada in 2004, where he was arrested in 2011. He worked as a freelance photographer and had a long history of petty crimes such as shoplifting, which he committed even in his mid-seventies. His acquaintances nicknamed him "Crazy Joe" for his behavior.
- Roxene Roggasch was found dead on January 10, 1977, dumped near Fairfax, California. She was 18 years old and stood 5'2". She had been strangled. Police estimated she was killed less than a day before. Police suspected that Roggasch had worked as a prostitute, but her family denied this.
- Carmen Colon, 22, was found on August 13, 1978, along Carquinez Scenic Highway, a road between Crockett and Port Costa, just thirty miles from the body of the first victim. A Highway Patrol officer investigating reports of a cattle shooting found a decomposing nude body that had been dumped. The body was later identified as Colon's.
- The body of Shariea Patton, 56, washed ashore near the Naval Net Depot in Tiburon, California in 1981. At the time of her death, she was a resident of the Bay Area looking for a job. Naso managed the residence where the woman used to live. He also took a photo of the victim. He was considered the prime suspect by police in 1981, but gave the investigators only elusive answers and was not charged for the next thirty years.
- Sarah Dylan, a Bob Dylan groupie (born Renee Shapiro, she later changed her name to that of the idol's former wife), was last seen on her way to a Dylan concert at the Warfield theater in San Francisco in May 1992. She was killed in or near Nevada County, California.
- In 1993, the body of Pamela Parsons, a waitress, was found in Yuba County, California. She was 38. Parsons worked near Cooper Avenue in Yuba City, where Naso lived at that time.
- Tracy Tafoya was found dead in 1994, also in Yuba County. She was 31. The killer drugged, raped and strangled her, and left the body near Marysville Cemetery. It has been estimated that a week passed before the body was found.
Arrest, trial and conviction
Nevada parole and probation authorities arrested Naso in April 2010. During a search of his home, authorities discovered a handwritten diary in which Naso listed ten unnamed women with geographical locations. On April 11, 2011, he was charged with the murder of Roggasch, Colon, Parsons and Tafoya. All four victims were listed by the police as prostitutes. The other six women mentioned in the diary remained unidentified. Later, prosecutors Dori Ahana and Rosemary Sloat introduced evidence identifying Patton and Dylan. On August 20, 2013, Naso was convicted by a Marin County jury of the murders. On November 22, 2013, a Marin County judge sentenced him to death for the murders.
Naso was also a person of interest in the Rochester Alphabet murders of 1971–73 case, since four of his victims bore double initials, just as the Rochester murder victims, and Naso had lived there for a long time. Naso, however, was ruled out of that case when DNA found on Californian victims was not matched to the DNA found on a Rochester victim's body.
- Klien, Gary (August 28, 2013). "Marin prosecutors link killer Naso to Tiburon victim in 1981". Marin Independent Journal. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
- Romano, Tricia. "The Case of the Double Initial Murders: An odd history". Crime Library. Archived from the original on April 3, 2014. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
- Romano, Tricia. "The Case of the Double Initial Murders: Crazy Joe". Crime Library. Archived from the original on September 5, 2014. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
- Henry K. Lee (June 17, 2011). "Slaying suspect Joseph Naso kept notes on victims". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
- Romano, Tricia. "The Case of the Double Initial Murders: Victims". Crime Library. Archived from the original on September 4, 2014. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
- Berton, Justin (June 3, 2013). "Joseph Naso accused in Dylan fan's disappearance". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
- Klien, Gary (November 22, 2013). "Marin judge sentences Joseph Naso to death row for murders of six women". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
- McGreal, Chris (2012-05-26). "Has the alphabet murderer finally been caught?". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 2017-10-05.
- Dillon, Nancy (12 January 2012). "Joseph Naso, suspected serial killer, kept rape diary: authorities". New York Daily News. Retrieved June 23, 2012.