At the Lake: Convicted murderer charged in '89 SLT slaying

A convicted murderer who almost was released from custody in Washington state last week is being charged with the 1989 murder of South Lake Tahoe teen Kathy Graves.

On Jan. 29, the El Dorado County District Attorney's Office filed a criminal complaint against Joseph Nissensohn, 57, charging him with the nearly two-decades-old murder of Graves, according to a news release from El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson.

"Were we aware we were on a time crunch and afraid he was going to get out? Certainly," Chief Assistant District Attorney Bill Clark said Friday.

Nissensohn was due to be released from prison Feb. 5 because his sentence from a previous murder conviction was fulfilled, but the Washington Attorney General's Office petitioned to have him committed to a facility for violent sexual predators, according to an article in The News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash. He was being held at the Pierce County Jail pending a Feb. 21 hearing, the article stated.

In 1991, Nissensohn was convicted of second-degree murder for stabbing a woman to death during a drug-fueled bondage session in the back of a van while his soon-to-be wife looked on, the article said.

Washington prosecutors suspect Nissensohn of murders in California and Nevada, and court records reveal his wife has implicated him in Oklahoma murders as well, the article continued.

"I know there is another murder people are looking at that may involve him," Clark said.

The assistant district attorney was not aware of the allegations of Nissensohn's involvement in Oklahoma or Nevada murders but said prosecutors in the Monterey area also are investigating Nissensohn.

The El Dorado County murder charge was the result of intensive investigative work conducted primarily by the "cold case" investigative team from the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office and the district attorney's office, Pierson said in the statement.

El Dorado County prosecutors are following the Washington proceedings and do not expect Nissensohn to be released from custody before local prosecution.

"Mr. Nissensohn is expected to remain in the custody of the state of Washington until he can be extradited to California to face charges filed by El Dorado County," the statement indicated.

The Feb. 21 court date is a probable cause hearing regarding the request by Washington district attorneys to have Nissensohn placed in a facility for violent sexual predators, according to The News Tribune.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment