Official Blog of Author MICHAEL THOMAS BARRY.
A blog which discusses varied topics that are related to the authors many books. Michael is a columnist for CrimeMagazine.com and a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books.
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Saturday, June 2, 2012
Serial Killer Leonard Lake is Arrested - 1985
On this date in 1985, serial killer Leonard Lake is
arrested near San Francisco, California.
This ended one of the rare cases of serial killers
working together. Lake and Charles Ng were responsible for a series of
particularly brutal crimes against young women in California and the Pacific
Northwest during the mid-1980s. Lake was a former Marine who had served time in
Vietnam. Ng, born in Hong Kong, was educated in England, and attended college
in California briefly before being caught with automatic weapons that he had
stolen from a military base in Hawaii, and sent to Leavenworth federal prison.
After his release, Ng hooked up with Lake in California and the two began a
series of murders.
Ng and Lake shared a love of John Fowles' The
Collector, a book in which the protagonist kidnaps a woman solely to keep
her in his possession, like the butterflies he collects as a hobby. Creating
"Operation Miranda," named after a character in the book, Ng and Lake
began kidnapping young women and bringing them to a cinderblock bunker in a
secluded area south of San Francisco. There, they tried to brainwash the women
into becoming their willing sex slaves. They also kidnapped a young couple and
their infant son in San Francisco while at their home pretending to be
interested in some audiovisual equipment the couple was selling and later
While in custody, Lake ingested cyanide and killed
himself. Ng escaped to Canada, where he successfully avoided extradition for
almost six years. When he was finally returned to California for trial, he
utilized other delaying tactics. By the time he was finally convicted, he had
gone through multiple attorneys and judges. It was one of the longest homicide
prosecutions in state history and one of the costliest, at approximately $11
million dollars. The trial itself was unorthodox. Against his attorney’s
advice, Ng persuaded the judge to let him testify in his own defense. He told
the jury that he was Lake's subservient partner, and denied killing anyone. The
prosecution used his testimony to introduce new evidence, including cartoons
drawn by Ng depicting babies being smashed, drowned, fried in a wok, and put in
a microwave oven. Ng said the cartoons were meant to be funny. After a
four-month trial, the jury convicted Ng and sentenced him to death in 1999.