MARIN COUNTY -- A jury recommended the death penalty for serial killer Joseph Naso on Tuesday for the murders of four women -- including two with East Bay ties.
Naso, 79, was convicted last month of the murders of Carmen Colon, 22, who was found near Port Costa in 1978; Roxene Roggasch, 18, an Oakland woman whose body was dumped west of Fairfax in 1977; Pamela Parsons, 38, who was found in Yuba County in 1993; and Tracy Tafoya, 31, who was found in Yuba County in 1994.
All four women were prostitutes who were strangled to death and dumped along rural roads.
Colon's death was unsolved for more than three decades before the case was cracked. Her naked, decomposed body was found by a CHP officer on Carquinez Scenic Drive on Aug. 13, 1978.
Officials said that DNA evidence found on fingernail clippings taken from Colon's body revealed a "partial, foreign DNA profile" that included Naso as a possible contributor.
During the death penalty phase of the trial, prosecutors presented evidence alleging that Naso killed two other women and raped or assaulted several others. The other alleged murder victims were Sharileea Patton, whose body washed up in Tiburon in 1981, and Sara Dylan, a nomadic Bob Dylan groupie who was killed in 1992 in or near Nevada County.
Prosecutors also included evidence that Naso -- who has lived in Piedmont, San Francisco and Yuba County -- raped or sexually assaulted numerous other women during his years in Northern California.
Naso, a retired photographer, was arrested in 2010 after a probation search at his home in Reno turned up incriminating writings and photographs, including a diary that allegedly documented a half century of sex crimes.
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; not all the women have been located.
On Monday, Deputy District Attorney Dori Ahana urged the jury to sentence Naso to death. She said Naso inflicted "a lifetime of devastation, a lifetime of violence" that included the murders of six women and the rape or assault of numerous others.
As the jury and courtroom audience sat in silence, Ahana let a two-minute timer run down to 0:00 -- a demonstration of the time Naso's strangulation victims spent struggling for air, in mortal terror, as the final seconds elapsed in their lives.
"He enjoyed their suffering, he enjoyed their pain -- tying them up and dumping their bodies, like garbage," Ahana said.
At Naso's request, Judge Andrew Sweet did not set a sentencing date Tuesday. Another hearing was set for Friday.
In a prepared statement given to his advisory counsel, Pedro Oliveros, Naso said he wanted to be a "fatherly figure to help younger inmates on death row," adding: "I want to help others in prison. I am on the threshold of a new life and will make the best of it."
Marin Independent Journal staff writer Gary Klien and Bay City News Service contributed to this report.