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Subject: L.A. Times obit. I didn't realize he was still alive.

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Date Posted: Monday, March 04, 12:58:37pm
In reply to: Dead at 85 's message, "Juan Corona, Serial killer" on Monday, March 04, 10:51:47am

Notorious serial killer Juan Corona, tied to slayings of 25 farm workers, dies at 85

Juan Corona, who killed 25 itinerant farm laborers in one of America’s worst serial murder cases, has died, California state prison officials said Monday.

Corona, who was 85, has been held at California State Prison-Corcoran. He died of natural causes Monday morning at a hospital, the state said.

In 1971 a farmer in Sutter County came along a freshly dug hole in a peach orchard. The farmer, who had contracted with Corona to hire field workers, returned the next day and saw the hole filled with dirt. To allay his suspicions, he called police.

In the shallow grave, officers found a man's body with his head hacked and his body riddled with stab wounds. Corona was arrested a week later. Over the next two weeks, police recovered the bodies of more slain farm workers from shallow graves along the Feather River near Marysville, north of Sacramento.

The vast majority of the 25 victims were hacked and stabbed to death. One was shot.

The motive around the killings has remained a mystery. From Corona's home and vehicles, investigators confiscated a green ledger with the names of eight of the victims, along with an 18-inch machete, a post-hole digger, a wooden club and a gun.

Prosecutors also claimed they had a receipt from a local butcher with Corona's name and handwriting that was found in one of the graves.

After a lengthy trial in 1973, Corona was sentenced to 25 consecutive life terms — a penalty so harsh that it elicited gasps in the courtroom when the judge handed it down.

But a state appellate court overturned the first conviction in 1978, blasting Corona's defense attorney for mounting a farcical defense and calling no rebuttal witnesses to counter the prosecution's 119 witnesses.

A second trial began in 1982 and was notable for Corona's defense offering an alternative theory behind the slayings. His attorney told jurors that it was Corona's late brother who carried out the killings, driven by a "maniacal rage" that originated in "the frustration of a morbid sexuality." The lawyer argued that Corona was more mild-mannered than his brother, and innocent.

After closing arguments that took 12 days to complete, the jury of seven men and five women convicted Corona of all charges.

While in custody, he lost an eye from an inmate attack, his wife divorced him, he had at least two heart attacks and he suffered from dementia.

Corona intimated his guilt for the first time in a 2011 parole hearing, saying the men were "winos" and had trespassed in the orchards.


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While 25 bodies – found buried in shallow graves in orchards and along the Feather River – were found, it was believed by many in law enforcement that he may have murdered many more than that. Sad. -Most were drifters/ransients, but here's some of his victims. …The machete killer!Monday, March 04, 01:12:00pm

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