US & Canada

'Alphabet killer' Joseph Naso sentenced to death

Joseph Naso (22 November 2013)
Image caption Analysts say it is unlikely Naso, 79, will ever see the inside of the state's death chamber

A California man convicted of the murders decades ago of four women whose names and surnames bore matching initials has been sentenced to death.

Joseph Naso, 79, was found guilty last month in the so-called "Alphabet" killings of Roxene Roggasch, Carmen Colon, Pamela Parsons and Tracy Tafoya.

The bodies of the four strangled women, who worked as prostitutes, were dumped in rural areas in the 1970s and 1990s.

Naso was prosecuted after police found evidence in his home in 2009.

Naso, a former photographer, represented himself at his trial in Marin County, telling the jury he was "not the monster that killed these women".

Deputy District Attorney Dori Ahana argued for the death sentence, presenting the jury with macabre photographs of the lifeless bodies, and in September the jury recommended he be sentenced to death.

Journal of violence

In 2009, probation officers in Reno, Nevada, carried out a routine firearms search of Naso's home. At the time, he was on probation for a conviction in California.

Inside his house, officers discovered a grisly collection of evidence, including a "List of 10" featuring references to the women's killings. There were photographs of women appearing drugged or dead.

Also uncovered was a journal with detailed descriptions of rape and violence toward underage girls and women.

Roxene Roggasch, 18, and Carmen Colon, 22, were killed in the 1970s. Pamela Parsons, 38, and Tracy Tafoya, 31, were killed in the 1990s.

He remains a suspect in the killings of at least two other California women.

Analysts say it is unlikely Naso will actually be executed by the state. Hundreds of prisoners are already on California's death row, and executions have been on hold there since 2006.

More on this story