Nissensohn guilty on 3 counts of murder

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.

Joseph Michael Nissensohn

Joseph Michael Nissensohn

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.


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Comments (7)
  1. JohnnyGP says - Posted: October 31, 2013

    May he rot in hell and as much comfort his conviction may bring to the victim’s families.

  2. Joe Boxer says - Posted: October 31, 2013

    He even looks evil. Too bad he wont see an electric chair.

  3. Penny Jarschke says - Posted: October 31, 2013

    My name is Penny Jarschke. I am Tammy’s mother. Me and my family, have been waiting a very, very long time, to hear this verdict. I cannot say enough about Dale Gomes, the District Attorney, who prosecuted this horrendous case. I am so pleased, and thankful for the jurors, for their service & patience, as this has not been an easy, nor pleasant experience, for them also.
    I am thankful for all of the support, and kind wishes, we have received during this time.
    I cannot say, or express, in words, how I am feeling at this very moment, except I am happy there is finally justice for our girls…..Nothing could ever make me more happy in my life, than that.
    God Bless You all….

  4. Michael Lee says - Posted: October 31, 2013

    Condolences to the victims, peace to your entire family.
    Good job by Da’s office and the Jury………… put the old punk on main line with new breed of criminals we’ve harvested. Worst than death.

  5. mrs.t says - Posted: November 1, 2013

    Mrs Jarschke,

    My condolences to your family, and to the Graves and Jones families as well. It took a long time, but finally justice has been served.

  6. Kitty Vaars says - Posted: November 1, 2013

    This verdict came on Tammy’s grandfathers’ 84th birthday. Our family has waited over 30 years for justice, and now, finally, this monster no longer has the upper hand. He’s done….finished. My cousin Penny has suffered long enough. Her little girl has now been set free to enjoy Heaven with her grandmother.

  7. judy says - Posted: November 1, 2013

    Justice has been served. I’

    Justice has been served, it’s to bad it took this long for the families that went through years of hell to bring this sick bastered to his just reward. May he die a slow death, and he will never see the light of day again.
    Heartfelt thanks to the ones representing our families and has brought some peace.