Alphabet Murders: California Serial Killer Sentenced To Die Could Be Key To Unsolved NY Murders

The Alphabet murders in California have been put to rest after a man was sentenced to death for a series of slayings against women with double initials, but it has now opened new questions about a series of murders in New York with eerily similar circumstances.

Former photographer Joseph Naso, a 79-year-old former photographer, was convicted of killing Roxene Roggasch, Carmen Colon, Pamela Parsons, and Tracy Tafoya. They were found strangled and dumped in locations around California over a span of 17 years between the 1970s and 1990s.

Naso, who this week was sentenced to death, may be the link to a series of unsolved murders in Western New York with the same tactic.

Known there as the Alphabet murders or the double-initial murders, the killings took place in the early 1970s around Rochester, New York. The case got its name because three young women were killed, each of their first and last names starting with the same letter and their bodies found dumped in a town with the same letter.

The body of Wanda Walkowicz was found in Webster and Michelle Maenza in Macedon, and Carmen Colon (no relation to the California victim of the same name) was found in Churchville.

The Alphabet Murders yielded many suspects, though police in Rochester were never able to charge someone with the crime One of the suspects, Kenneth Bianchi, was an ice cream vender in Rochester who worked close to the murder sites. He later moved to Los Angeles, where he and cousin Angelo Buono Jr. committed the Hillside Strangler murders between 1977 and 1978.

The case remains a mystery in the Rochester area, and inspired the 2008 movie The Alphabet Killer.

Investigators are now focusing on Joseph Naso as the chief Alphabet Murders suspect. They are looking into an alleged “rape diary” that was entered into evidence at his California trial, one that mentions the death of a girl in the “Buffalo woods,” which may be a reference to Upstate New York.

Naso also traveled between New York and California for his work during the time that the murders took place.

Investigators in California believe Naso was responsible for at least 10 murders, but were only able to find enough evidence to charge him with three.

The elderly man, who defended himself in the California trial and at times made confusing arguments, claimed that his DNA was planted on the dead women.

“I have sympathy, remorse for anybody who dies and the people they leave behind,” he said. “But I’m not guilty of these crimes.”

Investigators connected Naso to the California Alphabet Murders in 2010 when they found hundreds of photographs of naked women, many of them appearing to be unconscious or dead.

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