Imported Mass Murder Marks an Anniversary

Fifty years later, have politicians learned the lesson?
May 19, 2021 Updated: May 19, 2021


Fifty years ago, on May 19, 1971, American farmer Goro Kagehiro noticed that someone had dug out a man-sized space in his orchard near Yuba City, California. The hole turned out to be the grave of Kenneth Whiteacre, an orchard worker somebody had stabbed to death. Further diggings in the area turned up other victims:

Charles Fleming, Melford Sample, Donald Smith, John J. Haluka, Warren Kelley, Sigurd Beierman, William Emery Kamp, Clarence Hocking, James W. Howard, Jonah R. Smallwood, Elbert T. Riley, Paul B. Allen, Edward Martin Cupp, Albert Hayes, Raymond Muchache, John H. Jackson, Lloyd Wallace Wenzel, Mark Beverly Shields, Sam Bonafide, and Joseph Maczak. Four others were not identified.

The victims ranged from 40 to 68 years old, and all but three were white American workers. The others were black or Native American and not a single one was Mexican. The killer had buried each one on the north side of a tree with their arms over their heads. One had been shot and victims had been sodomized then stabbed in the chest. The killer then slashed their heads with a machete.

With the body of Melford Sample and other victims, police found receipts made out to Juan Corona. At Corona’s home, they found a meat cleaver, machete, double-bladed axe, and wooden club, all stained with blood. They also found a gun and a ledger book containing the names of seven victims. Police arrested Corona and charged him with murder.

Juan Corona was born in the Mexican state of Jalisco in 1934, and in 1950 illegally crossed the border into the United States. Corona picked carrots and melons in Imperial Valley, then moved north to the Yuba City area, near Sacramento. Deported in 1956, Corona had no trouble entering the United States a second time.

Epoch Times Photo
Mexican farm workers harvest celery in a field of Brawley, in the Imperial Valley, Calif., on Jan. 31, 2017. (Sandy Huffaker/AFP via Getty Images)

By 1960, Corona became a labor contractor for local American farmers, including Goro Kagehiro.

In 1973, a jury found Corona guilty and sentenced him to 25 consecutive life terms.

In 1978, a state appeal court overturned the conviction, charging that Corona’s lawyers failed to counter the 119 witnesses for the prosecution.

Corona’s second trial in 1982 took seven months and cost taxpayers $5 million. The Mexican had experienced bouts of mental illness, but his lawyers did not offer an insanity defense. Instead, they argued that Corona’s late half-brother Natividad carried out the killings. Closing arguments took 12 days and after two weeks of deliberation, the jury found Corona guilty on all charges. The court duly restored the 25 life sentences.

At Corcoran State Prison, Corona was disciplined for carrying scissors and taping a knife blade to his toothbrush. He had made incriminating statements to prison psychologists, and in his 2011 parole hearing, Corona said the men he killed over the space of a year were “winos” who had trespassed in the orchards.

Goro Kagehiro, who discovered the grave of Kenneth Whiteacre, passed away in 2005.

Corona died in prison on March 4, 2019, and in 2021, his crimes deserve careful reflection.

The Mexican’s murder spree was the worst in U.S. history before John Wayne Gacy, convicted in 1980 of killing 33 young men and boys in Chicago. Illinois executed Gacy in 1994, but Juan Corona took 25 American lives—many believe he killed others—and got to keep his own life.

According to California’s Legislative Analyst, it costs more than $80,000 to house a prison inmate for one year. So, after more than 40 years in prison, the costs for Corona ran well into the millions. A ballpark figure for compensation from the Mexican government is zero, and most foreign nationals in U.S. prisons, nearly 70 percent, are Mexicans.

Like Jose Inez Garcia Zarate, the criminal Mexican who killed Kate Steinle, and Luis Bracamontes, the racist Mexican who murdered police officers Danny Oliver and Michael Davis in Sacramento, Juan Corona was not supposed to be in the United States in the first place. Fifty years after his murder spree, some American politicians have yet to learn the lesson.

Since Corona’s victims included African Americans and Native Americans, his killings could have been motivated by racism. It is also possible that Corona sought to eliminate non-Mexicans from the farm-worker job market. In 1971, Americans would take those jobs.

Former President Donald Trump made progress on a border wall and got busy deporting criminal illegals. By contrast, President Joe Biden believes illegals are “already Americans” and rolls out the welcome mat, even during a pandemic.

“We are keeping our borders secure, enforcing our laws, and staying true to our values and principles,” claims Biden’s Homeland Security boss Alejandro Mayorkas. As Michael Cutler explains, during the Obama administration, Mayorkas was director of USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) and pushed for approval of virtually all applications for immigration benefits.

Mayorkas was also the architect of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. In practice, Biden’s DHS boss is more of an agent for false-documented illegals than an upholder of U.S. law and sovereignty.

For some politicians, all illegals want to be brain surgeons and Supreme Court justices. With an open border, the ranks could easily include more criminals such as Garcia Zarate, Luis Bracamontes, and Juan Corona.

As the previously deported Mexican discovered, in the United States you can murder and mutilate at least 25 Americans, keep your own life, and live into your 80s with American taxpayers paying the bills.

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of “Yes I Con: United Fakes of America,” “Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation,” “Hollywood Party,” and other books. His articles have appeared in many publications, including Frontpage Magazine, City Journal, The Wall Street Journal, and American Greatness. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.