News of Sutter County mass murderer Juan Corona’s death elicited a few different types of comments:

– Relief that the saga is over.

– Disbelief that the killer was still alive.

– Disdain that the killer was allowed to live.

– Disappointment that the newspaper gave the monster too much attention.

Someone even accused us of glorifying evil. Not hardly. A ruthless killer who murdered so many and scared so much of the community and cost the county millions and changed the lives of those involved in anyway ... his death is news. It’s big news.

Corona was sentenced in the 1970s to 25 life sentences in prison for the 25 murders he committed (the 25 known murders). Notice of his death came Monday from Corcoran State Prison. He was 85. 

He was convicted (twice) for killing the migrant farm workers, whose bodies were discovered over a span of several weeks, in shallow graves in Sutter County. 

It was a terrible few pages in our history. Like it or not, it’s part of our story. This awful thing occurred, Sutter County dealt with it ... and some 40 years later he’s finally dead.

People here were nervous. Then afraid, aghast, horrified  that someone in our midst could do something so monstrous. We were saddened by the toll taken ... 25 known dead. There were, no doubt, more. And even more saddened by those dead who were identified but had no one able to claim the remains. And saddened by those who are unidentified. You think of who they likely were ... poor field hands looking for work ... caught by an inexplicable murderer.

Was he a madman? Seems likely.

Should he have been sentenced to death? We’d entertain that argument; but death sentences were not on the table in that era – the most that could be meted out was life in prison. He was sentenced to life in prison 25 times.

Now he’s  dead. It’s a release for all of us – relief from the obligation of keeping a murderer alive in prison all these years. 

Our View editorials represent the opinion of the Appeal-Democrat and its editorial board and are edited by the publisher and/or editor. Members of the editorial board include: Publisher Glenn Stifflemire and Editor Steve Miller.

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