Mugshot of Charles Ng
|Birth name:||Charles Chi-Tat Ng|
|Born:||December 24, 1960
|Conviction:||Burglary, Kidnapping, Conspiracy to Commit Murder, Attempted Murder, Murder|
|Number of victims:||12 - 25|
|Span of killings:||early 1980s–1985|
|State(s):||Calaveras County, California|
|Date apprehended:||July 6, 1985|
He was born in Hong Kong, and was the son of a wealthy company executive. As a child, he was harshly disciplined and abused by his father. As a teenager, Ng was described as troubled and a loner and was expelled from various schools. After he was arrested for shoplifting when he was fifteen, his father tried to straighten his son out and sent him to Bentham Grammar boarding school in England. Not very long after Ng arrived in England, he was expelled from school after he was caught stealing possessions of other students. After he was expelled, he returned to Hong Kong.
Ng eventually moved to the United States where he briefly attended what is now Notre Dame de Namur University, until he dropped out after one semester.
After leaving the university, Ng enlisted in the Marine Corps in early 1980 and served for less than one year before he was dishonorably discharged for theft of heavy weaponry and machine guns at MCAS Kaneohe Bay. He was further charged with escape from confinement and attempt at desertion, although the charge for desertion was dropped. Ng was convicted on the remaining charges and ordered to spend 14 years in a military prison. He only served a fraction of that time before his sentence was commuted and he was released in late 1982 (Reference: United States vs Charles Ng).
Ng then met Leonard Lake in 1983 and the pair are suspected of murdering between 11 and 25 victims at Lake's ranch in Calaveras County, California. They filmed themselves raping and torturing their victims.
The crimes came to light in 1985 when Lake committed suicide after being arrested when Ng was caught shoplifting at a hardware store. Then police searched Lake's ranch and found human remains. Charles Ng was identified as Lake's partner in the crimes. Ng fled to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where he was arrested by the Calgary Police Service on July 6, 1985 after resisting arrest for shoplifting at The Bay department store. Ng pulled a gun on two security officers, and after a brief struggle Ng shot one of them in the hand. However, the two officers did manage to overpower him and held him in custody. Ng was charged and subsequently convicted of shoplifting, felonious assault and possession of a concealed firearm.
He was sentenced to four and half years in a Canadian prison.
After a long extradition battle (see Reference re Ng Extradition), Ng was finally handed over to the U.S. authorities. Ng stood trial on 12 counts of murder in 1998, which he was convicted on February 11, 1999, of 11 of the murders, those of six men, three women and two baby boys, and was sentenced to death. Ng's trial was lengthy and cost the state approximately $14 million, which was at the time of the trial the most expensive trial in California state history.