Accused serial killer to be tried at Tahoe | SierraSun.com

Accused serial killer to be tried at Tahoe

Eric LaughlinThe Mountain-Democrat
Photo By Dan BurkhartJoseph Nissensohn looks to his attorney Mark Ralphs after his case was transferred to South Lake Tahoe
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PLACERVILLE The man believed to be responsible for the murders of at least three teenage girls will stand trial in South Lake Tahoe after a ruling Friday by a Placerville judge.Joseph Michael Nissensohn, 57, could face the death penalty for the alleged 1980s slayings of a South Lake Tahoe girl and two others from Monterey County. No trial date has been set.After hearing arguments from both sides the prosecution had fought to have the trial held in Placerville, while the defense argued for Tahoe El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Douglas Phimister ruled in favor of the defense on multiple grounds.The only party with interest in having the case heard on the West Slope is the El Dorado County District Attorneys Office, Phimister said. This is a case where the victims body was found in the Tahoe area, and the investigation was done there by South Lake Tahoe police detectives.Phimister also reasoned his ruling with the fact that Nissensohn had filed a court motion contesting the judges entering a not-guilty plea for him, which had to be done when Nissensohn failed to do so at his arraignment. Phimister said that enough was reason to disqualify himself from the matter.Prosecutor Dale Gomes seemed frustrated with the judges decision to assign the case to Presiding Judge Suzanne Kingsbury on the South Shore. Gomes had argued that Placerville is the county seat and is better equipped to handle such a complex case.Nissensohns attorney, Mark Ralphs, who serves as assistant public defender in Placerville, had argued that the law is clear regarding cases being tried in the region where the alleged crime took place. Kingsbury will begin overseeing the case this week. Nissensohn likely will be transferred to the El Dorado County Jail in South Lake Tahoe. He has been housed in the county jail in Placerville without bail since his arrest in April.Nissensohn is accused of killing 15-year-old Kathy Graves of South Lake Tahoe and Tanya Jones and Tammy Lynn Jarschke, ages 14 and 13, respectively, from Monterey County. Jones body was found tied to a tree with electrical wire. His ex-wife has reportedly stated that Nissensohn also murdered young girls in Oklahoma and Nevada.