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After Their Gruesome Serial Killing Spree, Where Are Leonard Lake And Charles Ng Now?
What happened to the men behind one of California’s most disturbing murder cases? Both Charles Ng and Leonard Lake had very different ends.
Leonard Lake and Charles Ng turned a remote property in northern California into a killing field in the mid-1980s.
“It’s impossible to know how many victims paid with their lives,” filmmaker Todd Howe told “Manifesto of a Serial Killer,” a three-part special streaming now on Oxygen.com.
How were Leonard Lake and Charles Ng caught?
The two ex-Marines' sex-torture killing spree came to an end in June 1985, when Ng was arrested near San Francisco for shoplifting, a crime he committed throughout his life. When Lake tried to pay for the vise Ng had stolen, Lake was arrested for having an illegal gun silencer in his car — a stolen vehicle that belonged to a man named Paul Cosner, who’d gone missing months earlier, according to court records.
Ng managed to escape authorities when Lake was arrested. While in custody, though, Lake swallowed a cyanide capsule that had been sewn into his clothes. He died a few days later, according to court records.
By that time, police had found the Wilseyville property, along with the remains of men, women, and infants killed by Lake and Ng.
Detectives also found Lake’s written and videotaped diaries detailing his plans to abduct young women and hold them captive in a cell they custom-built for that sinister purpose. Lake and Ng had recorded each other as they brutalized women, reported The Associated Press.
Ng had fled to Canada, where he was eventually arrested for shoplifting and wounding a store guard, according to the outlet. He was incarcerated for those charges and fought extradition for six years before the Supreme Court of Canada ordered that he be returned. He was finally extradited to the U.S. in 1991.
Tactics by him and his lawyers delayed the trial, but they couldn’t stop it. Court proceedings began in California in 1998. Ng was charged with 12 counts of first-degree murder, and his trial began in 1999. He was ultimately convicted on 11 counts of murder for the killings of six men, three women, and two baby boys, the New York Post reported. He was sentenced to death.
In late July 2022, the California Supreme Court upheld that sentence. Ng remains on San Quentin’s death row.
To learn more about the case, watch “Manifesto of a Serial Killer,” streaming on Oxygen.