Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Read All About It!

I wrote a huge feature on a forty year old mass murder case of Juan Corona for DNA magazine,
The Machete Murders of Sutter County. This was the very first serial killer case in the USA, and its magnitude totally swamped the small town Northern California sheriffs department which kept digging up more and more bodies in the local orchards. The case also had strange gay subplots, like the victims (mainly alcoholic day laboring "fruit tramps") buried with their pants pulled around their ankles and a defense which, pathologizing homosexuality, kept on blaming Juan's gay brother - even though he was in Mexico at the time of the murders. I spent a lot of time researching the case and haven't seen another story as up to date - and the now-demented convicted killer's recent parole-seeking confession gives it all a chilling finality.
Check it out in issue #170 -- plus my recap of the dizzying, dazzling Tropical Fruits NYE festival.

1 comment:

Tony said...

Hey Jesse -
I was about 1/3 of the way through your superbly written piece on Juan Corona, The Machete Murderer, before it dawned on me: "I remember this!" It was the detail about the old school bus Corona used to haul the migrant workers that brought it back. And I sort of recalled that his brother was implicated, but not the details. Thanks, I guess, for filling in the gaps. It's indicative of the time, as you indicate, that the scumbag defense attorney thought that he could falsely play the "deviant homosexual" card and get anywhere with it. That was an excellent piece, the grisly details notwithstanding.
Oh, and no fair trying to calculate how old I might have been in 1971 so that I could recall the case. ;-)