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Man charged with four cold-case killings in California

Joseph Naso, 77, listens to Chief Deputy Public Defender David Brown during his arraignment Wednesday on four counts of murder.

Associated Press

Joseph Naso, 77, listens to Chief Deputy Public Defender David Brown during his arraignment Wednesday on four counts of murder.

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. — A strange coincidence? Or a glimpse into the twisted mind of a serial killer?

Four California women who investigators believe were murdered by the same man all had alliterative names: Carmen Colon, Roxene Roggasch, Pamela Parsons and Tracy Tafoya.

The suspect, a 77-year-old petty thief and freelance photographer, was arrested this week, and detectives are looking deeper into the deaths and whether the man had anything to do with New York's "Double Initial Murders" — the killings in the early 1970s of three girls, each with matching initials. For decades, Joseph Naso was known only for small-time thefts. Then a routine search of his Reno, Nev., home led to the unsolved slayings dating to the 1970s.

On Wednesday, he made his first appearance in a California court to face four counts of murder.

Naso said nothing as the Marin County judge postponed his arraignment until April 27.

Authorities have released few details about the cases, which all involve women whose bodies were found in Northern California with little trace of their assailant. But their names alone already bear an eerie resemblance to the notorious slayings in the Rochester, N.Y., area in the 1970s. The victims there were three young girls with alliterative names. And one of them also was named Carmen Colon.

Naso, a New York native, traveled frequently between the Rochester area and the West during that time, authorities said.

Man charged with four cold-case killings in California 04/13/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 11:59pm]
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