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Relief swept across Sacramento County, Calif., last Thursday as police reported the capture of Nikolay Soltys. He’d been the suspect in a brutal, relentless killing spree.

There’s no doubt law enforcement and citizens will rest more easily knowing Soltys is in jail, but it’s the story behind the headlines that’s of import to the whole country. This back-story is a key to a huge hole in this country’s unity and security.

The horror of the crimes put the 27-year-old Ukrainian immigrant on the FBI’s 10 most-wanted list. For 10 days he’d been the focus of a nationwide search which extended from California to Washington to New York to North Carolina and wherever else tips were tracked down. It gave Soltys a notoriety he probably never envisioned when he came to this country two years ago from the Ukraine.

Early reports say he’s confessed to the crimes and will be arraigned tomorrow. The details of the bloody rampage are not pretty.

Officials say that on the morning of Aug. 20, Soltys did the unthinkable. In their home, he slit the throat of his 22-year-old wife, Lyubov, not only killing her but also their expected child. She was three months pregnant.

Not finished, according to officials, Soltys drove to the nearby home of an aunt and uncle where 74-year-old Galina and 75-year-old Petr were killed and robbed. Then, two 9-year-old cousins, Tatyana and Dmitriy were also murdered.

Police say that Soltys then cleaned up at his mother’s house where he picked up his 3-year-old son and drove away.

When the bodies were discovered, the manhunt was on. The response from people from the large Russian-Ukrainian community in the area was odd. Some responded with horror and a commitment to help. But it’s reported that others clammed up, refusing to cooperate and in some cases, lying to police. Soltys’ own mother initially lied then finally admitted that her son had been at her house after the murders.

Police said the immigrants just don’t trust government or the law because of experiences in their own country. Authorities also said the lack of cooperation was due to loyalty to Soltys or to their homeland.

Then police found Soltys’ car and in it, a note in Russian. Translated, it gave directions leading police to a blood spattered cardboard box in a remote area. Inside, on top of toys, was the murdered body of 3-year old Sergey. Soltys’ son.

Death No. 6 for Soltys; 7, if you count the unborn child.

Soltys was described as a cunning, clever killer who could kill again. He was suspected of having a safe house, protection, a bankroll, a new car and a female companion. Who knew what was true?

Then on Aug. 30, over breakfast at his mother’s house, Soltys brother Stepan looked out and saw the fugitive in the back yard. After a police panic button and special phone didn’t work, Stepan and the family piled in the car and left. A frantic call to 911 brought heavily armed sheriff’s deputies to the house where they found a dirty, disheveled and barefoot Soltys hiding under a desk. Detectives think he’d never left the area. So much for a clever, conniving killer.

As he awaits the wheels of American justice to roll for him, Nikolay Soltys will enjoy all the fruits of the Constitution to protect him. He’ll benefit from the justice our tax dollars will buy him – and perhaps that is as it should be.

But – and I mean but – the more important question is why is this man in this country at all? Why did our immigration laws enable such a man to come here and bring his problems with him – problems which have created chaos and mayhem for us?

The man is a shoemaker by trade and could not get work in this country, either in New York or in Sacramento where he moved five months ago. We used to require people to have a viable profession or a sponsor.

Soltys has a history of mental illness in Ukraine and in fact was rejected by the Army there as being mentally unfit. He also has a history there of domestic violence, repeated here with his young wife.

We used to have guidelines of mental and physical health for immigrants to protect our own citizens and our own social welfare.

I am appalled at the murders, but on another level I am equally incensed that this country has become so blas? about immigration that we take just anyone. In the process, the health and safety of our own citizens are left at the mercy of people who come here for the benefits without paying their citizenship dues.

Remember, sheriff’s deputies said a number of the immigrants didn’t cooperate in the search because of loyalty to their homeland!

Let me get this straight. They come here for freedom yet distrust the police and their old loyalty is so strong they’ll cover up the murders of seven people?

Seems to me there’s a word for this, and that word is deportation!

Let them stay in their homeland until they are ready to come to America to be an American, to respect our laws and culture, to learn our language, to be independent and self-supporting and above all, to become loyal to this country and not to remnants of European despotism. Why are we giving people like this a free pass?

I wonder which of our elected officials will have the courage to respond? Don’t hold your breath.

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