Who Is Charles Ng?
At 18, Charles Ng obtained a student visa to study in the United States. After joining the Marines he was caught stealing military weapons and served three years at Leavenworth. Upon his release, Ng moved in with Leonard Lake and the two began a campaign of abduction, rape and murder. Once caught, Ng was sent to San Quentin and sentenced to death.
Charles Chitat Ng was born on December 24, 1960, in Hong Kong, China. The son of a wealthy businessman, Ng was a rebellious teenager who was frequently caught stealing and was expelled from several schools. At 18, Ng obtained a student visa to study in the United States, where he briefly attended the College of Notre Dame in Belmont, California, before dropping out. After being charged in relation to a hit-and-run offense, Ng lied about his birthplace and joined the Marines. Once again he was caught stealing, this time military weapons, and he served three years in Leavenworth Prison.
Meeting Leonard Lake and Murders
Upon his release, Ng moved in with Leonard Lake, a deviant whom he had met prior to serving at Leavenworth. He and Lake began a campaign of abduction, rape and murder based from Lake's remote cabin. Altogether, the bodies of seven men, three women, two baby boys and 45 pounds of bone fragments would be recovered from the cabin site.
The killings came to an end only through chance. Having broken the vise they were using to torture their victims, Lake and Ng drove into town to get a replacement. The clerk at the lumberyard spotted Ng trying to shoplift the vise 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 swallowed two cyanide pills he had 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.
It was Ng's habit of shoplifting that proved his undoing. Leaving a Calgary, Alberta, shop, Ng was challenged by security guards over grocery items in his bag. He drew a gun, and in the ensuing struggle one of the officers was shot in the hand. Canadian police charged him with robbery, attempted robbery, possession of a firearm and attempted murder. More importantly, U.S. authorities now knew where he was.
After a protracted extradition, complicated by Ng's lies over his nationality, he was finally brought back to face trial in California in 1991. Ng tried everything to delay the trial, frequently firing his lawyers, changing the location of the trial and even applying to defend himself.
The trial finally took place in 1999 and lasted eight months. The jury deliberated for two weeks before finding Ng guilty of the murder of six men, three women and two baby boys. He was sentenced to death.
In 2001, a San Francisco judge found Ng and Lake responsible for the death of missing auto trader Paul Cosner. Ng is currently at San Quentin prison in California. No execution date has been set, as he is appealing his conviction.
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