Joseph Naso, the accused serial killer on trial in Marin Superior Court, wants to help the county save money, and has jumped into the debate about whether District Attorney Ed Berberian should prosecute so many misdemeanor cases.
Naso, a millionaire retired photographer charged with four murders, took time to write a letter to the Independent Journal editor on makeshift letterhead that included two old mug shots of himself, a flag, a disabled veterans emblem and his return address at 13 Peter Behr Drive, better known as the county jail.
Naso said he wrote in connection with an IJ article about "excessive misdemeanor cases that are prosecuted by the Marin County D.A." Berberian is under fire from the county board for maintaining a staff of 31 attorneys, three more than comparable counties with higher crime rates -- while prosecuting twice as many misdemeanor cases as they do.
"More misdemeanor cases should be diverted to other programs and projects," Naso opined. "The cost to staff diversion branches would be far less than the cost to staff an excess of attorneys."
Naso speculated that half the cases Berberian brings to court could be diverted "with no risk to the safety of county citizens, nor spoil their life style."
The serial killer suspect observed that prosecuting misdemeanors is a burden for the public defender, the courts and the jail as well.
"My personal case, which happens to be a felony, but would have
Further, "the best way to manage a budget is to cut excessive payroll and expences (sic) at the source: the District Attorney s Office," the suspect concluded.
Contacted Friday, Berberian said it is not yet possible to estimate the cost of the Naso case "since we are only at the post-preliminary pre-trial stage," but added that other jurisdictions will help with expenses and "we are not in the million dollar ballpark as he comments upon."
Berberian added that he puts "a case like Mr. Naso s at the top of my priority list for prosecution," and noted he has "put in place with regard to the Naso prosecution the staff and support resources needed to assure that the most professional and thorough presentation is made."
Naso, 78, is charged with murdering Roxene Roggasch, 18, dumped on White s Hill near Fairfax in 1977; Carmen Colon, 22, found near Port Costa in 1978; Pamela Parsons, 38, found in Yuba County in 1993; and Tracy Tafoya, 31, found in Yuba County in 1994.
Naso was identified as the suspect after a 2010 probation search at his Reno home revealed a vast collection of photographs of dead or unconscious women in various states of undress, incriminating writings, sadistic magazines, and diaries describing sex crimes, investigators said.
Naso says the photos are his private artwork and that the women are in staged poses.
All four murder cases are being prosecuted in Marin under an agreement among county authorities. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
Contact Nels Johnson via email at email@example.com