Monterey Serial Killer Sentenced to Death

Monterey Serial Killer Sentenced to Death

He Was Convicted Of Murdering 3 Teenagers

CARMEL—Convicted serial killer 62-year-old Joseph Michael Nissensohn has been sentenced for the 1981 killing of two teenagers from Monterey County and a 1989 killing of a South Lake Tahoe teenager.

On Thursday June 5, Mr. Nissensohn found himself sitting in El Dorado County Court House where he learn his fate for the three killings. ‘Death’ was the word uttered from the jury in Judge Suzanne Kingsbury’s courtroom.

Nissensohn was found guilty of the death of 15-year-old Kathy Graves of South Lake Tahoe in 1989.  He was also convicted of the killing of 13-year-old Tammy Jarschke and 14-year-old Tanya Jones, both of Seaside.  The jury took into account additional special circumstances that included a prior 1989 Washington State murder of Sally Jo Tsaggaris. Nissensohn has been implicated in other murders as well, and was known to be a sexual predator with other young victims.

Two of his victims - Tammy  Jarschke and Tanya Jones

Two of his victims – Tammy Jarschke and Tanya Jones

Defendant Nissensohn was convicted of the Tacoma Washington murder back in 1991, and was due to be released at the end of his sentence in 2008.  It was at that time an agreement was reached between The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office and the El Dorado County District Attorney to consolidate all three murders and try them at the same time.

“This cold case was originally investigated for the Monterey County murder by Investigator Brown, but turned over to Investigator Opseth in 2005.” Investigator Marty Opseth of the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a press release.

The guilty phase of this trial began with jury selection over 13 months ago on May 14, 2013. Judge Kingsburg sentenced Nissensohn to be executed at California State Prison, San Quentin.  He now sits on San Quentin’s death row unless his appeal to the California Supreme Court is approved.

Read More:

Monterey Herald: Killer of Monterey County girls in 1981 gets death penalty

Mountain Democrat: Nissensohn sentenced to death

Mountain Democrat: Multiple stories about Nissensohn

Monterey Serial Killer Sentenced to Death was last modified: January 14th, 2019 by admin
Categories: El Dorado, Monterey

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Daniel Miranda

Dan Miranda is a Journalist, Photographer and Sports Writer for the San Jose, Santa Cruz, and Monterey area. He can be reached at