SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (AP) — A jury on Tuesday recommended the death sentence for convicted serial killer Joseph Naso, a 79-year-old former photographer convicted of the decades-old murders of four Northern California women.
The panel deliberated for about four hours before reaching its decision. Earlier in the day, the jury heard closing arguments from Naso, who represented himself and asked the jury to spare his life.
He will be formally sentenced at a later date by Marin County Superior Court Judge Andrew Sweet.
Naso was previously convicted of four counts of murder in the deaths of four prostitutes with matching initials — Roxene Roggasch, Carmen Colon, Pamela Parsons and Tracy Tafoya. The prostitutes were strangled and dumped in rural areas.
Prosecutors had argued for the death sentence, presenting grisly photos of the women’s lifeless bodies. Prosecutor Dori Ahana let a timer tick down from two minutes to zero — the time it takes an asphyxiated person to die.
Even though the jury recommended death, it is unlikely Naso would be executed if a judge agrees. There are 725 inmates already on California’s Death Row and executions have been on hold since 2006, when a federal judge ordered an overhaul of California’s execution protocol.
It will take at least another year for prison officials to properly adopt the state’s new single-drug execution method and have it cleared by the judge.