Honorable Mention: Juan Vallejo Corona
Juan Vallejo Corona
(pictured here at the ripe old age of 77) was a Mexican who lived in Yuba City, Calif., and provided cheap labor to local ranchers in the form of migrant workers. He had a history of mental illness, including schizophrenia, was homosexual, and had a psychopathic hatred of gay men. Exactly when he started killing is unknown, but he was a suspect in a February 25, 1970, attack at his gay brother Navidad's café that left Romero Raya clinging to life, bleeding from machete wounds to the back of his head. Raya never saw his attacker. At some point Corona began singling out migrant workers for sex and then killing them. The first, homeless man Kenneth Whiteacre, was discovered on May 19 in a grave on property near Corona's. Whiteacre had been stabbed in the chest, bashed in the head, and slashed across the back of the head several times with a machete. His hands bore deep defensive wounds. Police found literature in his pocket, that may or may not have been planted, that indicated that he was gay. It is not clear if Whiteacre was sexually assaulted or not. Police were not alarmed at first, but by June 4 searchers had unearthed 25 victims, many of them sexually violated. At the time this was the largest serial killer body count the U.S. had ever seen.
Juan Corona was arrested and, after a lengthy trial, convicted of 25 counts of first degree murder. Corona received twenty-five life sentences, with the possibility of parole. He was initially incarcerated at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, for treatment of heart problems, and on December 6, 1973, was attacked by four other inmates with a shank, after bumping into one in the hallway, and failing to excuse himself. Corona was stabbed and slashed 32 times, and lost an eye in the assault. He was so close to death, that he is said to have confessed the murders to a priest. Later Corona recovered. He was even granted an appeal, but the jury affirmed the verdict of the previous trial.