Defendant in 1989 murder wants to represent himself

The Washington state convicted murderer now charged with the 1989 murder of a 15-year-old South Lake Tahoe girl told a judge in Placerville on Friday that he wants to represent himself during future proceedings.

Joseph M. Nissensohn, 57, was arrested in connection with the slaying of Kathy Graves after serving a prison term in Washington for a 1991 second-degree murder conviction.

Washington prosecutors said that conviction stemmed from Nissensohn's stabbing to death of a 46-year-old woman after a drug-fueled night of sex in a van near Tacoma, with his soon-to-be wife watching.

El Dorado County officials named Nissensohn as a suspect in Graves' murder in February. The teen's remains were found in the National Forest a year after she was reported missing in 1989.

According to a 66-page report filed by the Washington state attorney general's office, a psychologist who evaluated Nissensohn wrote that he befriended a young girl named Kathy from South Lake Tahoe in 1989 and introduced her to LSD.

Nissensohn's ex-wife allegedly told police in Florida that he went into the woods with the girl to have sex in August 1989, then hurried back to the car alone minutes later.

His former wife also reportedly said he was involved in two killings in Oklahoma and one in Nevada, but court documents provided no further details. Monterey County detectives said Nissensohn also is under investigation in the killing of two girls, ages 13 and 14, whose decomposed bodies were found in a remote rural area near Seaside in 1981.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for this Friday.


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