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Crime News Manifesto of a Serial Killer

‘I Want An Off-The-Shelf Sex Partner’: Serial Killer Leonard Lake’s Most Disturbing Diary Excerpts

In “Manifesto of a Serial Killer," excerpts from Leonard Lake’s terrifying home videos and journal are shown.

By Joe Dziemianowicz
Leonard Lake and Charles Ng featured in Manifesto Of Serial Killer

While in custody following his arrest in San Francisco on June 2, 1985 for possession of an illegal firearm silencer, Leonard Lake, 39, swallowed a cyanide pill sewn into his clothes. 

It took him four days to die. By then investigators had discovered a secluded cabin in Wilseyville, California where Lake and his accomplice, Charles Ng, raped, tortured, and killed at least 11 and as many as 25 people

Detectives also turned up Lake’s videotapes and written documents in which he outlined his deadly plans. “Manifesto of a Serial Killer,” now streaming on Oxygen.com, takes a deep dive into the case, including Lake’s diaries.

Your First Look at Manifesto of a Serial Killer

In addition to notations about mundane chores, entries made between early 1983 and late 1984 reveal Lake’s sinister plans. The written and typed diary, according to sfgate.com, was more than a hundred pages.

By the entries, Lake was a man who viewed himself as outside the mainstream. “I am a dangerous person,” Lake wrote. “Society would be worried if they knew that I existed and what I was up to.”

Seated in a recliner while sharing visions of sexual subjugation of women, Lake’s nonchalance during taped entries make them all the more chilling.

In an October 1984 video entry, Lake expressed his desire to kidnap a woman and hold her hostage for his sexual needs. 

What I want is an off-the-shelf sex partner,” Lake said in a home video, according to a 1998 Los Angeles Times report. “I want to be able to use a woman whenever and however I want.”

Lake added that he was out to get “a slave, there’s no way around it … primarily a sexual slave, but nonetheless a physical slave as well.”

“As of this moment, I’m going to try and get it,” Lake said, according to the same LA Times report. “It will be interesting to see how far this tape and I actually go.”

Lake referred to this mission in vague ways in his journal.

"What stood out to investigators at the time were numerous code names and references in the diary to something called Operation Miranda,” filmmaker Todd Howe told producers. 

His violent fantasy was partially inspired by the John Fowles thriller The Collector.” In the novel a man builds a cell and holds a woman named Miranda hostage in a twisted attempt at love that ends with the captive dead and buried. 

In early 1984, Lake recorded his own detailed plans to construct a bondage cell, according to Greg Owens, co-author of “No Kill, No Thrill.” 

RELATED: Why Killers Write Manifestos

“He was going to capture women and make them his slave and make them do his bidding,” Owens told producers.

The last page of Lake’s diary holds some of the most gruesome entries and ones that became key to the case and Ng's trial, Owens told “Manifesto of a Serial Killer.”

In it, Lake describes how he and Ng selected a man named Paul Cosner to be abducted and murdered.

“Friday, November 2. 1984. Met Charlie, performed op. Met resistance for the first time … unsuccessful in obtaining credit cards or bank codes. Drove to country for completion canceled Charlie’s running debt to me,” he wrote. 

“That was the day Paul Cosner disappeared,” Owens described.

Cosner’s body has still not been recovered.

“It’s impossible to know how many victims paid with their lives,” said Howe. 

To learn more about the case, watch “Manifesto of a Serial Killer,” now streaming on Oxygen.com.