SAN RAFAEL -- Accused serial killer Joseph Naso told a Marin County jury Friday that the evidence against him is weak and that the prosecution dredged through his past "to find as much garbage as they can and fling it at you."
"It's only intended to confuse and mislead the jury," Naso, who is representing himself, said during his closing arguments.
On the question of how his DNA apparently ended up on the body of Roxene Roggasch, an Oakland prostitute dumped near Fairfax in 1977, Naso said he and any number of men might have had sex with her in the days before her "demise."
Either that, or evidence technicians might have accidentally intermingled his DNA sample with the victim's at the crime lab, he said.
"It would have become contaminated," said Naso, 79, a former East Bay resident.
He did not have an explanation for why his ex-wife's DNA was on the pantyhose that was used to strangle Roggasch.
Naso was occasionally testy and combative as Judge Andrew Sweet reminded him to restrict his comments to the evidence presented during the trial.
Sweet threatened to revoke his right to represent himself and turn the closing argument over to his "advisory counsel," deputy public defender Pedro Oliveros.
"I think I'm doing quite well," Naso retorted. "I haven't done anything flagrant."
Naso took up the entire court day on his closing argument, much of which was repetitive or involved showing the jury his photographs of weddings, families, children and models.
Late Friday afternoon, after the judge sent the jury home for the weekend, Naso estimated he had an hour to 90 minutes left to go on Monday morning. When he is finished, the prosecution will present its rebuttal, and then the jury will go into deliberations.
Naso, a former freelance photographer, is charged with the murders of Roggasch, 18, who was dumped off Sir Francis Drake Boulevard on White's Hill; 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.
All the homicide investigations stalled 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.
Investigators also found diaries written by Naso in which he allegedly chronicles stalking and raping women back to the 1950s in various parts of the country. Prosecutors are using it to establish a pattern that led to the crimes for which he is charged.
Detectives also found 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.
Authorities are still investigating whether Naso can be charged with more homicides. Prosecutors allege that he is also responsible for the murder of a traveling Bob Dylan groupie whose skull was found in Nevada County, but they did not file a murder charge because the evidence did not come together until his trial was almost ready to begin.
"The prosecution has constructed its case against me with conjecture, opinion and stipulation," Naso told the jury. "It's guesswork."
The prosecution plans to seek the death penalty.
Contact Gary Klien via email at email@example.com