SAN RAFAEL (BCN)
The ex-wife of convicted serial killer Joseph Naso testified this morning she believes she was sexually assaulted by two men in a hotel room after Naso put a “knockout drug” in her drink at a San Francisco nightclub in the summer of 1976.
“I totally blacked out and found myself in a different place. I believe I was drugged,” 75-year-old Judith Naso said.
She said she was depressed at the time of the assault and had two drinks at the nightclub. The next thing she knew, two men who were wearing clothing were lying on top of her in a bed in a hotel, she said.
She said she saw her husband “watching very intensely” on the side.
The two men ran away, she said. “I was totally fuzzy and confused. I believe they were having sex with me,” she said.
Judith Naso said she confronted Naso about it when they got home.
“He said he thought it would cheer me up but it didn’t. I felt terrible,” she said.
She also said she had a hysterectomy around the time of the assault, and Naso told her he thought having sex with two men would make her feel more attractive.
“I don’t think that was the reason. I think he enjoyed it,” she said.
The disturbing testimony came during the death penalty phase of the 79-year-old former commercial photographer’s trial in Marin County Superior Court.
Naso, who is representing himself with help from advisory counsel Pedro Oliveros, was convicted Aug. 20 of the first-degree strangulation murders of four prostitutes between 1977 and 1994 in Marin, Yuba and Contra Costa counties.
Prosecutors Rosemary Slote and Dori Ahana have also presented testimony about an attempted sexual assault in the late 1970s by Naso of an Oakland woman, Carolyn Kasprik, who was his neighbor, and the murder of a San Francisco woman, Sharieea Patton, 56, in January 1981.
The testimony is intended to inform the jury of aggravating factors that could convince them to recommend the death penalty.
Naso told Judge Andrew Sweet he intends to call two women to testify as mitigation witnesses. One of them, Helen French, has already testified during the main trial about an alleged assault by Naso during a photography session.
“She didn’t tell the truth. The photo session was consensual. There was no assault as she claims,” Naso said this morning.
Naso said he will produce photographs from the photo session to show it was consensual and to discredit French as a credible prosecution witness.
Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday, but Naso said his two witnesses were subpoenaed to appear in court Tuesday.
He filed a motion today to continue the trial beyond Tuesday to accommodate his witnesses. Sweet has not ruled on the motion, but he has told Naso to have his witnesses ready on Friday when the prosecution is expected to rest its case.
Judith Naso testified against Naso during the main trial, but the judge excluded as prejudicial any testimony about the alleged sexual assault in the San Francisco hotel room.
After Naso was convicted, Sweet granted the prosecution’s motion to have her testify about it during the penalty phase.
Naso asked his ex-wife this morning whether she recalled his volunteering as a Cub Scoutmaster and Little League coach and his role as a loving father to their son who struggled with alcohol.
She agreed he never tried to harm her except for the sexual assault at the hotel.
“Would you like to see me live,” he asked.
“Yea, I’d like to see you live,” she replied.
The evidence the prosecution claims links Naso to the murder of Patton includes documents showing she lived at an apartment complex at 839 Leavenworth St. in San Francisco in 1981 at the same time Naso lived there and worked as a resident manager who handled tenant complaints and did minor maintenance.
Patton’s daughter Rusel Heckert testified Tuesday her mother owned a gray, rabbit fur coat. The prosecution presented a photo it says was found in Naso’s home of a woman, nearly naked from the waist down, wearing a similar looking coat. Heckert said she is sure it was her mother’s coat.
Patton’s body was found on the rocky shore of San Francisco Bay in Tiburon on Jan. 14, 1981. Her body was bound with pantyhose into a fetal position and placed in two large plastic bags. A long bruise on her neck suggested she was strangled.
Four pairs of pantyhose were found on the body of Naso murder victim Roxene Roggasch, 18, of Oakland. Her body was found near Fairfax in January 1977. Naso’s and his wife’s DNA were found on two separate pairs of the pantyhose.
The prosecution told the main trial jury Naso targeted the four prostitutes, sexually assaulted them, strangled them and dumped their bodies off rural roads in the three counties.
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