Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Case of the Double Initial Murders

Caught and in Court

 

Joseph Naso
Joseph Naso

On April 13, 2011, the white-haired Naso made his first court appearance and was charged with four counts of murder. Due to the special circumstances of the crimes, Naso may be eligible for the death penalty.

In subsequent appearances, Naso declined to hire an attorney, in part, because he didn't want to pay for one. He was denied a right to a court-appointed attorney when an accounting of his monetary worth showed that he had over $1 million in assets. He stated in court: "I've given this case a lot of thought, and I've been alone with myself for weeks. I've decided, looking at the big picture and everything I'm facing, that now I will represent myself." He added: "I want to be the first one and the only one to have discovery."

Besides, he argued, "I have represented myself in the past many times, mostly in civil proceedings and I've done well. I've prevailed."

Despite the judge's advice that he should get a lawyer since it could be a capital case, Naso continued ahead.

When the prosecution introduced the bondage images into evidence, Naso protested and made a strange statement in court during a routine plea hearing: "Nowhere in any of the four statements do they depict the names, descriptions, or intended fate. None of the photographs found depict the women shown in forced posing, forced bondage, or being deceased. All photographs of the women were posed under free will."

Since his initial appearances, Naso changed his mind and requested an attorney. Because his assets have been frozen by the state, though, he said he can't pay. $150,000 was then released, but the judge is ruling on whether or not he can get a publicly funded legal adviser. It probably didn't help that the information regarding the safe deposit boxes had been introduced into the record.

After weeks of not entering a plea, on May 27, 2011, Naso finally entered one: "Not guilty." With even the best lawyer on staff, it may prove hard work to convince the jury that Naso didn't kill the four women with the alliterative names.

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