PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
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JOSEPH MICHAEL NISSENSOHN shown in court Tuesday morning in South Lake Tahoe. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

News

More testimony against defense’s claimed killer

By From page A1 | September 27, 2013

Another ex-wife of a man the defense says is the real killer in the Joseph Michael Nissensohn triple murder and two men among the last to see two of the murdered girls alive testified Tuesday morning in South Lake Tahoe.

After a closed session and Presiding Judge Suzanne Kingsbury reaffirming a previous decision regarding certain evidence from a witness, defense attorney Hayes Gable III called Dianne Jackson to the stand with the jury still out. After questions about what she knew about the case, the jury was brought back in.

She met Ira Gilmore — the man the defense proposes did the killing, not Nissensohn — in 1981 in Monterey, when he came to her like a “knight in shining armor,” she told defense attorney Peter Kmeto. She was standing out in the rain, having missed her bus — compounded with having been recently raped with her roommate. She struck up a relationship with the cabbie. He took her to Jack’s Point — which was possibly Chews Ridge, where the bodies of Tammy Jarschke and Tanya Jones were found.

After moving around from jobs, the two left Monterey for Las Vegas, Nev. Gilmore, on the way, forced Jackson into prostitution, she said, saying that she owed him and that if she loved him, she would do anything for him.”He got very violent and very rude,” she said. He would “get me by the throat, choke me, until I passed out.” Gilmore’s other ex-wife, Tammy Thornton, had relayed similar stories the previous week during the trial. Jackson continued the prostitution, fearing Gilmore would kill her.

They were married in Ogden, Utah. She worked at a phone sex company, bringing in the majority of the money for the two. She would later become pregnant, and Gilmore played Russian Roulette against her stomach. In 1983, however, their daughter Holly was born. After threats of killing their daughter, Jackson was able to escape Gilmore in 1985, she said.

Next, Frank Gida was called to testify, followed by George Hudson. Hudson had picked up the two girls and, after he finished his work as a janitor, they cruised around all day and night with Gida. The four stopped at Attila Spaits’ house, where Hudson went inside with one of the girls — he doesn’t remember which girl — while Gida stayed in Hudson’s car. They listened to the radio. Contrary to his original testimony, Hudson said he had sex with the girl he went inside with. There was confusion from him, however, as he thought they had sex outside. Gida and Hudson dropped the girls off at the Denny’s on Fremont Street in Monterey, never to see them again, around daybreak. Later that day, the two went missing, never to be seen alive again.

Nissensohn is accused of killing Jarschke and Jones in Seaside, near Monterey, in 1981, and Kathy Graves in South Lake Tahoe in 1989. He has already served 15 years after being convicted on the second-degree murder of Sally Jo Tsaggaris in 1991. If found guilty, Nissensohn would be classified a serial killer and could face the death penalty.

Cole Mayer

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