A grisly late 2007 quadruple-murder case in the Cincinnati suburb of Sharonville has apparently been solved with the arrest of Santiago Moreno.
Moreno apparently brutally stabbed his four other apartment mates with near-surgical precision.
It is horrible that these men died. It is great news that the monster who did it has apparently been caught.
What is hard to understand is why after nearly 1-1/2 years, it's finally okay to use a certain "I-word" to describe the victims' immigration status that was almost never used when the original stories broke:
- Three different stories at WLW-T Channel 5's news site in December 2007 (Dec. 17; Dec. 19; Dec. 28) don't use the word.
- A January 11, 2008 report from Cox News ("Immigrants came to Ohio to support families") from the victims' home city of El Zacaton, Mexico, used the politically correct alternative term "undocumented workers" twice, but not in direct reference to the victims.
- Cincinnati Enquirer stories I found from December 21 and December 28, 2007, didn't use the word or its alternative.
- In a December 21, 2007 Associated Press story ("Robbery seen as slayings' motive"), E. Eduardo Castillo called them "undocumented immigrants" in his second paragraph.
This makes it very odd indeed that in his story this morning about Moreno's arrest, the AP's Terry Kinney broke out the "I-word," and quickly to boot (bold is mine):
A man was in custody in Mexico on Wednesday in the December 2007 killings of four Mexican construction workers who were beaten and methodically stabbed in the heart at the Ohio apartment they shared, the FBI said.
FBI spokesman Mike Brooks identified the suspect as Santiago Moreno, 34, a Mexican citizen who was arrested Monday. Exactly where in Mexico he was arrested was not immediately available.
The bodies of the four illegal immigrants he is accused of killing were found in their apartment in suburban Sharonville after they had not reported to work for several days.
Hmm. Why did these men only become "illegal" once their murders had been solved?
Separately, the case was used by subtle and not-so-subtle race-baiters as an opportunity to beat up on the larger community, as these paragraphs from the December 21, 2007 Enquirer story illustrate:
An organization of immigrants in Southwest Ohio on Thursday expressed its concern and sadness over the homicides.
"We are saddened, worried and disturbed by these murders," said Sylvia Castellanos, a representative of Coalition for Immigrant Rights and Dignity.
"It is with much suffering that we leave our families and come to the United States looking for a better future," said Castellanos. "Our deepest sympathies go out to the families of these men. The immigrant community at large is very concerned. There is both fear and sadness."
Sister Alice Gerdeman of Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center noted how no one missed the men.
"This tragic act of violence is a call to the entire community to evaluate its attitude toward immigrants. How sad it is that people can be dead for days and no one misses them."
Those concerns were also echoed by the Rev. Paula Jackson of the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour in Mount Auburn.
"These murders touch all of us, whether we are immigrants or were born in this country. No one is safe or secure in a society until we all are, especially those who are most vulnerable. Besides praying for the families who are bearing such an unthinkable loss, we must work to ensure that all lives are valued, regardless of race, language or immigration status."
Strangely, that Enquirer article, appearing on the same day as Castillo's AP report flagged robbery as the probable motive, claimed that robbery was "an unlikely motive."
Today's Enquirer report by Eileen Kelley says that the murders "sent fear through the Latino community and put the local Police Department and Mexican consulate into overdrive." She also broke the "I-word" ice, reporting that during the investigation, the details of which had to be kept from the public, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters had to put up with accusations that "the crimes were not important because the men were Mexican and they were illegal."
With Moreno's arrest, I'm sure that Ms. Castellanos, Sister Gerdeman, the Rev. Jackson, and the Mexican consulate will publicly congratulate Deters for his time-consuming persistence ("Deters gave a binder, about the size of Greater Cincinnati's Yellow and White Pages combined, to Mexican authorities"), and express their regret for implying that the larger community's supposed hostility towards the Hispanic community or illegal immigrants had anything to do with these horrible deaths.
P.S. Do you think anyone will ever get around to asking officials at ABC Precision Masonry, where the men worked, a couple of them apparently for two or more years, how they either got onto the payroll, or were able to be sent 1099s?
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.