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Serial killer Juan Corona is denied parole a seventh time

Juan Corona, originally convicted of killing 25 migrant workers in 1973, is 77 and has dementia. He won't be eligible for another hearing for five years.

December 06, 2011|By Jean Merl, Los Angeles Times
  • Juan Corona, was convicted in what at the time was the United States' worst serial murder case.
Juan Corona, was convicted in what at the time was the United States'… (California Dept. of Corrections…)

Juan Corona, convicted of killing 25 migrant workers in California some four decades ago, was again denied parole Monday.

The California Board of Parole Hearings turned down the seventh parole request of Corona, now 77 and diagnosed with dementia. He is not eligible for another parole hearing for five years, authorities said.

Corona is serving 25 concurrent terms of 25 years to life at Corcoran State Prison. First convicted in 1973, he won a new trial in 1978 and was re-convicted on all charges in 1982.

What at the time was the nation's worst serial murder case had its roots in the early 1950s, authorities said, when Corona moved to Yuba City, in Sutter County, where he worked as a migrant farmer. He soon established himself as a labor contractor.

In 1971, a farmer who had hired Corona to line up workers found what appeared to be a grave-shaped hole between two trees in an orchard. The next day, the farmer returned to the spot and found that the hole had been been filled. He called police, who discovered the body of the first victim, whose throat and head had been hacked and upper body repeatedly stabbed.

Further searching in peach orchards along the Feather River near Marysville, north of Sacramento, soon turned up more bodies. All the victims were migrant farmworkers or transients with some connection to Corona.

The Associated Press reported that Corona told the parole board Monday he had murdered and mutilated the victims because they were trespassing in the orchards.

jean.merl@latimes.com

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