Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Case of the Double Initial Murders


If it weren't for his petty thefts, Naso might have never been found out. A chance visit on April 13, 2010, from his parole officer, Wes Jackson, turned his life upside down. On parole from his most recent shoplifting charge, Naso was subject to unannounced home-visits from his parole officer. What should have been routine turned into something else. Jackson noticed an ad for a gun and several rounds of ammunition tucked not-so-carefully away in an ashtray.

The ammunition was in clear violation of Naso's parole, which gave officers carte blanche to scour his home. He was arrested, jailed for probation violations and spent the next year incarcerated in a Nevada jail.

The police spent the year conducting interviews with neighbors and other people in the area. In the course of a multi-agency, multi-state investigation, police found a treasure trove of information, which led to his indictment for the murder of the four California women.

The day he was to be released from the Nevada jail in South Lake Tahoe, police arrested him on the murder charges, nearly a year to the date. He was transferred to Marin County, the site of the first victim, Roxene Roggasch.

In addition to the 4,000 photographs of women wearing bondage gear and lingerie, posed to look dead or unconscious, police also found diaries and safe deposit boxes. A list Naso wrote by hand is the key to their entire case.

In the statement of probable cause for arrests made without a warrant, Officer Ryan Petersen made several allegations against Naso.

"During a probation search of Joe Naso's residence in Reno, Nevada, he was found in possession of a handwritten list which had the reference to ten different women and ten different locations. The last entry on the list made reference to a girl from Marysville, with (cemetery) written next to it." Tracy Tafoya had been dumped next to the Marysville Cemetery, near Naso's home.

The statement of probable cause also notes that another woman, Carmen Colon, was dumped off Carquinez Scenic Drive, outside of Port Costa, Calif. Here, the evidence was possibly more damaging. "A partial, foreign DNA profile was obtained from Colon's fingernail clippings." Naso was included in the DNA profile as a possible match.

In the case of Pamela Parsons, who was found dead in Yuba County near Naso's workplace and home, the police cited photos of Parsons found in one of the safe deposit boxes and newspaper clippings regarding her death. "In addition to the photos, numerous writings, logs and a calendar from 1993 detailing his daily activity related to Parsons were found inside his residence." He sold photos he'd taken of Parsons at a flea market, only 1.5 miles from where her body was found. On the list, Parsons is listed as number #9: "Girl from Linda (Yuba County)."

Finally, the first victim, Roxene Roggasch was listed as #3 on his alleged hit list. She had been found in an area known as "White's Hill." A DNA test on the pantyhose left around her neck found DNA that matched Naso's ex-wife, Judith Naso.

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