By Kathryn Reed
Joseph Michael Nissensohn stared intently at the court clerk on Thursday as she read the jury’s verdicts – guilty on three counts of first-degree murder.
The six-woman, six-man jury found the 62-year-old guilty of murdering Kathy Graves, 15. The remains of the South Lake Tahoe teen were found near the Mount Tallac trailhead in 1990, about one year after she was last seen alive. He was charged with that crime in January 2008. He was also found guilty of killing Monterey County teenagers Tanya Jones and Tammy Lynn Jarschke in 1981. He was charged with those murders in fall 2008.
But these aren’t Nissensohn’s first murder convictions. In 1990 he was convicted of second-degree murder in the 1989 stabbing death of a woman in Tillicum, Wash. He served 15 years in prison for that crime.
With the three convictions on Oct. 31, Nissensohn faces the death penalty. He has been in El Dorado County Jail since 2008. The penalty phase begins Nov. 12 and should last a few weeks.
“A very bad person is finally being held for his actions as a direct result of the efforts of a dedicated team. The victims and their families are entitled to nothing less,” District Attorney Vern Pierson told Lake Tahoe News.
Nissensohn didn’t interact with his two attorneys, Hayes Gable III and Peter Kmeto, who sat to his left in El Dorado County Superior Court in South Lake Tahoe. With his gray hair pulled back in a ponytail, his focus was on the clerk and Judge Suzanne Kingsbury and not the 12 who just found him guilty.