Report: Murder Suspect's Ex Falters At Hearing

Published January 14, 2012 3:54AM (EST)

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (AP) — An 80-year-old ex-girlfriend of a man charged with killing four Northern California women proved to be a less-than-stellar witness Friday for prosecutors who are trying to prove they have enough evidence to put Joseph Naso on trial, according to a published report.

The Marin Independent Journal reported ( that the woman testified at Naso's preliminary hearing via a video feed from Florida. She said she met him when they were both living in California during the 1990s and that he visited her in Florida after she moved there.

The newspaper did not name the woman because it regarded her as a possible domestic violence victim.

She identified herself as the model in several suggestive photographs seized from Naso's Reno, Nev., home, including some in which she was bound on a bed and looked unconscious. Prosecutors have used similar photographs of two of Naso's alleged victims and other women who appeared dead, as evidence in the hearing.

But the witness could not provide details of how she ended up in the photos, nor about police reports she filed years ago alleging violence and threats by Naso, the newspaper reported.

Naso, 78, is serving as his own lawyer in the possible death penalty case. While cross-examining the ex-girlfriend, he flirted with and charmed her by recalling their day trips and dinners.

"When we were together, we had a good time, didn't we?" Naso asked.

"Yes," the woman answered.

During another exchange, the woman said Naso had threatened her with blackmail.

"How did I threaten you?" Naso asked.

"I wish I could remember better," she said.

"I wish I could, too," Naso said.

Naso stands charged with murdering two women during the 1970s and two during the early 1990s, although Nevada investigators have said they think he may be responsible for as many as 10 unsolved slayings. He has pleaded not guilty, and a judge will decide at the end of the preliminary hearing if there is enough evidence to put him on trial.

By Salon Staff

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