Convicted murderer Joseph Naso asked a Marin County jury Wednesday not to sentence him to death, describing himself as a someone who cares deeply about people and likes to help those in need.
Then he called attorneys "whores," said the prosecutors were "jealous" of his excellent opening statement, and told prosecutor Rosemary Slote she needed to fix her hair.
The latter comment, made after the jury was excused for lunch, drew a furious rebuke from Judge Andrew Sweet. The judge said Naso is behaving as though the trial is a game.
"Knock it off," Sweet told the 79-year-old killer. "Act your age."
The exchange came during the first day of the death penalty phase of Naso's trial. He was convicted last month in the strangulation murders of four prostitutes in the 1970s and 1990s.
In addition to those crimes, prosecutors say the evidence implicates Naso in the murders of two other women: 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.
Although prosecutors did not have time to charge Naso with the Patton and Dylan murders before his trial started, they are using the cases as additional evidence why he deserves the death penalty.
The prosecution will also present evidence involving other rapes or attempted rapes, including cases where Naso allegedly drugged his former wife, Judy, so she could be sexually assaulted by other men.
The prosecution also plans to present testimony from the children of Naso's murder victims, who will talk about how they grew up without their mothers.
"This, ladies and gentlemen, is the time to think about the victims, and what they suffered at the hands of the defendant," said Deputy District Attorney Dori Ahana.
Naso, wearing a white dress shirt and gray slacks but no jacket or tie, insisted that the prosecution did not prove he was guilty of the murders. He also faulted the jury deliberating for what he considered an insufficient period of time.
"I just want to reiterate that I don't think the people proved their case against me legally," said Naso, who represented himself at the trial.
The death penalty phase of the trial is expected to last several weeks.
Naso was convicted of murdering Roxene Roggasch, 18, whose body was dumped west of Fairfax in 1977; Carmen Colon, 22, who was found near Port Costa in 1978; Pamela Parsons, 38, who was found in Yuba County in 1993; and Tracy Tafoya, 31, who was found in Yuba County in 1994.
The case against Naso came together in 2010, when a routine probation check at his home in Reno turned up an extensive collection of photographs of dead or unconscious women in various states of undress and other evidence linking him to the murders.