Leonard Lake Biography

Murderer(1945–1985)
Leonard Lake was a serial killer who partnered with another man to rape and kill several people in the 1980s.

Synopsis

In the early 1980s, Leonard Lake and Charles Ng began a campaign of abduction, rape and murder. Altogether, the bodies of seven men, three women, two baby boys and 45 pounds of bone fragments would be recovered from Lake’s cabin site. The killings came to an end through chance, and upon being arrested, Lake committed suicide by swallowing two cyanide pills he had taped to the collar of his shirt; he died on June 6, 1985.

Profile

Serial killer. Born October 29th, 1945 in San Francisco, California. Raised largely by his grandparents, Lake served in the Marines and completed two tours of duty during the Vietnam War, but never saw combat. After being treated for psychological problems, both during the war and after, he attended San Jose State University and moved to a commune in the early 1970s.

In 1981, Lake married Claralyn Balasz, whom he met while working at a local renaissance fair. Later that year, Lake met Charles Ng, who had just escaped Marine Corps jail where he was being held on charges of weapons theft. The two men struck up a friendship, and Ng moved in with Lake and Balasz. Balasz says she left after she grew tired of her husband's strange behavior and his insistence that she star in pornographic films.

Lake was arrested for a firearms violation in 1982, but he skipped bail and hid in a remote cabin in Wilseyville that was owned by his ex-wife. Ng moved in as well, and the duo began a campaign of abduction, rape and murder. Altogether, the bodies of seven men, three women, two baby boys and forty-five pounds of bone fragments would be recovered from in and around the cabin site.

The killings came to an end only through chance. Having broken the vice they were using to torture their victims, the two men drove into town to get a replacement. The clerk at the lumberyard spotted Ng trying to shoplift the vice and called the police. When they arrived, Ng had departed on foot. Upon being arrested, Lake gave the police the name of his partner and then committed suicide by swallowing two cyanide pills he taped to the collar of his shirt. Ng, however, had disappeared.

In Ng's absence, the police began to investigate Lake's cabin. In addition to the corpses and body parts, they also unearthed caches of weapons, personal effects from the victims and even videotapes of Lake and Ng raping and killing in their bunker.

Ng was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death in 1999. In 2001, a San Francisco, California, judge found Ng and Lake responsible for the death of missing auto trader Paul Cosner.

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