Juan Corona

Juan Corona was in his late thirties at the time of his arrest for multiple murders.  He was a married man and father of four.  He worked as a farm-labor contractor in Northern California which provided well for his family.  He hired seasonal workers, mostly transients, to work on fruit farms near Yuba City, California. 

By CNN ([1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Earlier in life, Corona migrated to America from Mexico.  He had an apparent breakdown and had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.  After being committed he received treatment and was assumed to have recovered.  He was known as a hard worker with a raging temper; however, he appeared to be living a pretty normal life until bodies began turning up in the orchards.

The Case of Juan Corona

Corona was charged and convicted of twenty five murders, although it is thought that there were more victims in this murder spree.  The victims were transient farm workers who were thought to be sodomized; bludgeoned, stabbed, shot or slashed; and buried in the orchards around Yuba City.

The evidence against Corona has been questioned by many who believe that there was a rush to judgment and that he may have been wrongly convicted.  The investigation was apparently sloppy and the majority of the evidence was circumstantial.  Even so, when given a new trial due to an incompetent defense, Corona was found guilty a second time and sentenced to life. 

Corona first became a suspect due to receipts being found on a victim that had Corona's name on them.  Some of victims were identified as being seen with or working for Corona.  A search of Corona's home, office and vehicle turned up some things that added to the suspicion. 

Among this evidence was a ledger that had some of victims' names on it.  This became known through the prosecution as the "death ledger".  A machete, some knives, a hatchet, a meat cleaver, a pistol, a posthole digger, more receipts, and apparent blood stains also added to the mix.  Forensics for proving that these items were connected to the murders fell short; nonetheless, Corona maintained his innocence, but was found guilty of the twenty-five murders. 

In 2011, Juan Corona said that he murdered the men because they were trespassing.  This seeming confession was made years after the crime at a time that Corona was deemed to be suffering from dementia.  This begs the question, was Corona really the Machete Murderer, or was he wrongly convicted as a serial killer? 

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