For the first time since his arraignment in 2011, Joseph Naso seemed genuinely hurt and offended, but not because someone accused him of being a murderous misogynist. It was the revelation that someone considered him a bad photographer.
The alleged serial killer, presenting his case to a Marin County jury Wednesday, called an old associate to the stand to establish his bona fides as a legitimate photographer. His defense witness, photographer Richard Hoyt, worked with Naso at a Berkeley camera shop in the 1960s and was later a neighbor of Naso's in El Cerrito.
Naso, 79, showed Hoyt a stack of his old photographs and asked if recognized them. Naso said his intent was to show the jury that he took many types of photos -- families, children, urban scenes -- and not just pictures of naked or half-dressed women.
Hoyt said he recognized a few of the images. But under cross-examination by prosecutor Dori Ahana, Hoyt said he and Naso were never close and that he thought so little of Naso's pictures he didn't even consider him a professional photographer.
Naso, who has expressed considerable admiration for his own work, seemed deflated and wounded by Hoyt's testimony.
"I never heard you complain about my photography," he said. "My work speaks for itself. I've won quite a few blue-ribbon awards. I must have been doing something right."
Naso's photography and writings are a central part of the prosecution's evidence in Marin Superior Court, where he is charged with murdering four prostitutes in the 1970s and 1990s.
The prosecution rested its case Tuesday after calling about 70 witnesses over nearly two months. Naso's witness list includes five people, including Hoyt; a former photography model; a fellow flea-market vendor he used to know; a sculptor; and a retired sheriff's detective.
Naso has not said whether he plans to testify. He is representing himself with the help of an "advisory counsel," Deputy Public Defender Pedro Oliveros.
Closing arguments are scheduled for next week before Judge Andrew Sweet.
Naso's alleged victims were Roxene Roggasch, 18, who was found 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.
The homicide cases languished until 2010, when a routine probation check at Naso's home in Reno revealed an extensive collection of photographs of dead or unconscious women in various states of undress, incriminating writings and sadistic magazines, investigators said.
The search also turned up what authorities describe as a "list of 10" -- a roster, in Naso's handwriting, of 10 unnamed "girls" with geographic locations. Prosecutors allege the list refers to 10 women Naso killed and the areas where he dumped their bodies.
Four of the women on the list correlate to Roggasch, Colon, Parsons and Tafoya, prosecutors allege. Investigators said semen on Roggasch's pantyhose matched Naso's DNA profile, and that Roggasch was strangled with panty hose that contained the DNA of Naso's wife.
Roggasch's brother Larry is among the handful of people watching the trial as it nears its conclusion.