CA Supreme Court Upholds Death Penalty for Serial Killer Charles Ng
July 30, 2022
SACRAMENTO, CA—The California Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the conviction and death penalty for one of two men involved in at least 11 horrific sex slave torture-slayings in the mid-1980s in which the duo kept their victims hidden in a secret bunker in the Northern California woods.
Charles Ng, now 61, was convicted in 1999 of killing six men, three women, and two baby boys in 1984 and 1985. According to CBS News, he was initially accused of 13 slayings—12 in Calaveras County and one in San Francisco.
Ng’s criminal partner, Leonard Lake, committed a series of kidnappings in which they engaged in bondage and sadism, which eventually ended in murder. The criminal duo was initially suspected of killing up to 25 people.
“There’s been wild estimates and there’s been conservative estimates, and honestly I don’t think anybody will ever know, due to how they were disposing of the bodies,” said Calaveras County Lt. Greg Stark, whose father worked for the department at the time.
Nearly 37 years later, authorities are still trying to identify the remains of some of their victims.
Ng and Lake held their victims in a remote 2 ½-acre Sierra Nevada fenced compound about 150 miles east of San Francisco. The property included a bunker with three rooms, two of them behind a hidden doorway.
One hidden room was furnished like a cell with a bed covered with a foam pad, a plastic bucket, and a roll of toilet paper, reports CBS News.
Lake killed himself with a cyanide capsule after police arrested him for shoplifting in San Francisco in 1985 and were questioning him before any bodies were found.
The criminal duo incriminated themselves with videotapes of them torturing bound and terrified women they used as sex slaves before murdering them.
Lake would dismember and dissolve the bodies with various chemicals.
Jurors were shown a tape of one woman pleading for the men to spare her husband and baby as Ng cut off her shirt and bra with a knife in front of the camera.
Investigators discovered piles of charred bones, blood-stained tools, shallow graves, thousands of buried teeth, and bone fragments, with at least four of the dental specimens belonging to a child under 3, and a 250-page diary kept by Lake.
Ng fled to Canada and was arrested in Calgary, Alberta, in 1985 for shoplifting and wounding a store guard. He fought extradition for six years before the Supreme Court of Canada ordered him returned. His trial was one of California’s longest and most expensive, costing millions of dollars—Ng repeatedly attempted to delay and disrupt his own trial deliberately.
In a 181-page analysis, California justices concluded Ng received a fair trial and pointed out his trial was also moved from Calaveras County to Orange County because of pre-trial publicity, reports CBS News.
Ng is originally from Hong Kong and joined the Marine Corps after he came to the United States. He was later imprisoned at Leavenworth, Kansas, for weapons theft while serving in the Marine Corps.