A Marin County judge refused Friday to give a convicted serial killer more time to prepare for his sentencing hearing.

Joseph Naso, 79, sought a delay in the Nov. 8 sentencing, saying he was still working on motions for a new trial or a reduced sentence. The deadline for new defense motions was Friday.

Naso said the work was complex and arduous, and that an inmate in the adjacent jail cell was repeatedly causing noisy disruptions.

"This is a big project for me, preparing for my sentencing," Naso said.

Judge Andrew Sweet said Naso has known his sentencing date since Sept. 20, a few days after the jury gave him the death penalty.

"What have you been doing the past month?" Sweet said. "What appears to the court is that you haven't been diligently managing your business."

Naso countered, "It's easy for you to say I've been diddling. ... What have I been doing? I've been working on these motions over and over."

Sweet left the sentencing date as it was.

In a separate hearing last week, Judge James Chou ordered Naso to meet with county lawyers to discuss his finances.

When Naso was arrested, prosecutors said he had more than $1 million in assets, but his current worth is unclear. Although he saved a fortune in legal fees by representing himself, county lawyers are not sure whether he has transferred his assets to other people.

Assistant County Counsel Jack Govi said the county will seek the reimbursement of more than $138,000 for advisory services the public defender's office provided during the lengthy case. Govi said the cost could rise as additional invoices come in.

"No amount of money can rectify the horrifying inhumanity that this defendant committed," he said. "However, the public should not suffer the indignity of paying for the cost of this barbarian's defense. We will pursue his assets aggressively and vigorously to prevent that from happening."

The conference on Naso's wealth is set for Dec. 13. Naso will not be allowed to remain at the county jail between his sentencing and the meeting.

Naso could also face wrongful death lawsuits from the families of his numerous victims.

Naso was convicted in September for the murders of Roxene Roggasch, 18, who 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.

During the death penalty phase of the trial, prosecutors introduced even more evidence linking Naso to two other uncharged murders and numerous rapes or sexual assaults. The other two 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.

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 rapes and sex crimes.

Contact Gary Klien via email at gklien@marinij.com or https://twitter.com/GaryKlien

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©2013 The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.)

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