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The Collector & the Fugitive /// Part 2 /// 755

2024-05-01 | 🔗

The Collector & the Fugitive /// Part 2 /// 755 

Part 2 of 2 



Leonard Lake and Charles Ng silently terrorized and collected victims in the greater San Fransisco area for about two years.  Leonard Lake was a criminal in every way, committing every type of criminal offense that one could think of.  He was obsessed with the book “The Collector" by John Fowles.  When Lake met Charles Ng, Charles was a fugitive on the run from the U.S. Government.  To this day we still do not know how many people fell prey to this California Killer duo. 


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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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- Welcome to True Crime Garage. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, thanks for listening. I'm your host, Nick. And with me as always is a man who just... Just inform me this morning that if Jest Steel does not win the Kentucky Derby, well the garage may shut down for good. Here is the slightly optimistic captain.
Bad bets with the bookie and now my knees are on trial. Be seen it's good to see you thanks for listening thanks for telling a friend Today we are still sipping on some delightful Sierra Nevada summerfest. This is a smooth and refreshing summer logger that is back on the shelves and in the back. Coolers and beer caves right now for your consumption. Enjoy ABV 5% garage Four out of five bottle caps and here's some cheers to our friends who continue to help us out. First up, a big shout out to Nicole Thomas and Prosser, Washington. And a big shout out to my bookie sister, Jen Vaughan from Queens, New York. Like your jeers next up we have a long distance cheers to stephan and warndorf germany and last but certainly not least
We have an even longer distance cheers to Ben Woodham from Spring Farm. New South Wales, Australia, an absolute dream destination for me, who knows? Maybe someday captain. Everyone we just mentioned contributed to the True Crime Garage Beer Fund. And for that, we thank you. Yeah, B-E-E-R-U-N, beer run. And a big thank you to all of our Patreon and Apple subscription. On Sunday we released a great episode where me and Nick get into a little heated debate about the Devil's Knot and the West Memphis 3K, so check that out. And that's another one. For the business. All right, kiddos, everybody gather around, grab a chair, grab a beer, let's talk some true crime.
We've already discussed Operation Fish. We started to talk a little bit about-- Operation Miranda. Remember in 1984 when Charles Ng meets back up with his fugitive friend, Leonard Lake, we have this bunker that was built, this survival shed. It's difficult looking at this today, Captain, and I've seen pictures of This structure over the years. I don't think this is holding up to any type of nuclear holocaust, but again, we have
Leonard Lake, who's living under the name of Charles Gunner at the time, telling neighbors that this structure is built for end times. It's a just in case, it's a survival bunker. But we have this bunker that's built also as a holding cell. That is the way, or the purpose, that was described to Charles Ng when he meets back up with Leonard Lake. A bunker built to keep a woman and hold her captive. So Lake could fulfill his almost lifelong fantasy of having a slave.
Slave for both work and sex and simply for Leonard's pleasure and if she didn't fall in line or do as he ordered she would be punished and she would learn the rules she would learn to obey and she would even someday Leonard believe on a long enough timeline learn to enjoy being his slave and enjoy pleasing him If she didn't, well, he would kill her and try again with a new slave. Operation Pink Palace. Pink Palace was a rooming house located in San Francisco. What we do know about this Operation Pink Palace is that from the time period of August of 1984 through the month of October 1984,
Persons who were living at this pink palace would leave and never return or simply vanish. So there's Maurice Rock of San Francisco who disappeared from the Carl Street Pink Palace rooming house sometime in August. There's also Cheryl Okora, who she too of San Francisco. Unfortunately, Cheryl may have been the first Operation Miranda victim. And then there is Randy Jacobson, age 36, also staying for a while at the Pink Palace. He's last seen on October 15th, 1984. Bit of confusion on my end here captain i i don't think all three of these individuals were living together
We also know that not all three of these individuals went missing at the same time, because at the very least, Randy Jacobson is seen many times by many people for at least 45, 50 days after Maurice Rock and Cheryl O'Kohar are last seen. I think what happened here, and there's evidence to suggest this, is that the three of them, or at least one or two of them, they didn't disappear necessarily.
From the Pink Palace, they went out to the ranch where Lake and Eng were living. Again, under that same ruse of, Oh, here's a job. We need somebody to work the land or work on this pot farm. We think that a similar fate befell Maurice Rock and Randy Jacobson. Detectives believe that Cheryl was probably most likely the The first victim of this whole dream fantasy that Leonard Lake created that he called Operation Miranda. That takes us through October of 1984. On November 2, 1984, Paul Kosner, age He's last seen he's living in the general San Francisco, California area. This man he
Actually has ties to Ohio here, captain. He grew up in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. At some point he's offered a job to move out West and he takes that job. Some of his family move out there with him and this wasn't a wife and kids. I believe it was his mother. And sister. Paul Kosner owns a 1980 Honda Prelude. He disappears and so does the vehicle. This is a similar situation to what we've already discussed. Kosner had advertised the vehicle for sale in a local newspaper. So he tells family that he had been in contact with a potential buyer. He describes this buyer as a weaver.
Now, on the night that he's last seen or last known to be alive and well, he's leaving his apartment. This is between 7.30 and 8 p.m. and he's leaving to meet this potential buyer, the one that he described as a weirdo. Beard guy. He never returns. He's never heard from again. His family doesn't see him again. They don't see the car again. Well, just a few more details on that. He was actually going out on a date and telling
his date, Hey, I'm going to be a little late because this guy that was telling you about that wants to buy my car, I got to go on a test drive with him and to see if he really wants to buy the car. So I'm going to be a little late again. Last time anybody hears from him, nobody ever sees him again. That's like this story on some level starts becoming so monotonous because it's you cross paths with Leonard and Charles, nobody sees you again. If they have something that you, that they want, if you have something that they want or that they need for their survival as they perceive it, then like
Captain said they take control of the situation and you simply disappear. There was some information that says that there were strange messages that were left on Paul Cosner's answering machine. I don't have the details of that here, captain, but if in fact, if that's true. That seems very similar to what we've seen with Charles Gunner. You know, he runs off with some woman, Donald Lake, decides to... To not live with mom anymore. We have Harvey Dubs whose employer receives a phone call from a mystery man, if you will. Stating that Harvey Dubs had to go off on this family emergency. So like you said, it's repetitive. But the thing here is, these...
Victims, these people that are going missing, there's no real connection to each other, you have the Dubs family and other than you have these persons from the Pink Palace. But there's no real connection from Donald Lake to... Well, I guess in that situation you would have Donald Lake and Charles Gunner at the nucleus there would be Leonard Lake. But the Pink Palace people, the Dubs family, there's no connection. To those. There's no connection to Paul Cosner. - Yeah, so it's not like law enforcement has all these people missing and they're all, there's a focus around Leonard Lake or Charles, but. No, because this would all have been busted up much sooner.
Fortunately, lives would have been saved. What we do have too at this time, we do have Charles Ng. He is working. He's working for some type of movement. Company. He's kind of not fitting in with his fellow employees, his co-workers. And in fact, a lot of the dudes there think he's rather weird because he's always... He's always like practicing martial arts in front of them. He's shouting out. Things and always bragging about his time in the Marines and shouting out. Like no gun, no fun, no kill, no thrill things that are, you know, off. To say the least. You don't want to hear some dude at work shouting those things out and then buddy up with him. But somehow he ends up befriending a couple of people at this moving company. One of them is Jeffrey Gerald. He vanishes.
February of '85. This is after telling a few people that he was going to go help Charles for a side job. He's never seen after that. Later, what we know is that Gerald's car is listed for sale and it's being sold by a person named Charles Gunner. We also have Michael Carroll. This story is one of the more strange portions of this overall story. Story is strange. I don't think that someone could fly under the radar for so long with this level of risky behavior today. I just don't think that it could happen. One of the things that popped into my head...
And researching these insane two individuals was Facebook Marketplace. Hmm. Because... These guys would have had a field day with Facebook Marketplace. If you have an item that's for sale that they want and that is a means to an end for them, then they're gonna come find you, kidnap your family, kill them or kill you. And then also, you know, the collector, the book, It kind of reminded me of Silence of the Lambs a little bit, the Buffalo Bill. There's all these facets to the story, and once the full picture is painted, it all makes sense. Well, and one of the things that I will never forget, because to me it was such...
A shocking, a sad but true statement from Thomas Harris who penned Silence of the Lambs and the the other great books both before and after. When interviewed he said that that nothing that he wrote about was false. Everything that he wrote about was true. Now of course those characters don't exist and those exact scenarios did not exist. But what he is saying is he simply had to take... Situations and real-life events that he had reviewed and read about over the years and then apply his own creativity and imagination to them and so you're exactly right to, to kind of pair this up with a work of literature back to something of Silence of the Lambs. And the collector, as said.
Unfortunately, it was a piece of inspiration for an absolute monster like Leonard Lake, but it is a rather brilliant book. And John Foles, who wrote the book certainly didn't have any intention of it leading to something of this nature. It's just meant to be literature, to be art. Well yeah, but that's what happens when you have fragile individuals. They're looking for their identity, they're looking for a path. So then Leonard Lake reads this book and boom, he finds his path. he finds his address.
Through this this novel. And he carries that with him. And then at some point it looks like, like you said, fragile. I'm glad you use that word because he strikes me as the type of individual that was looking for a reason. Give me a reason to go off and just do whatever the hell that I want to. To live this life of lawlessness and chaos and causing other people harm and... In taking what I want when I want it. - Yeah, I mean, we have these sayings for a reason. Hurt people hurt people. I think these. Who individuals were, they were so desperate to want to be somebody, to have some kind of power. Over somebody, and it's just so strange that these two individuals found each other.
And then decided, Hey, you can help me live out my fantasies, I can help you live out your fantasies. And I think that what we have here with Lake is, I think this guy was probably a real asshole to begin with, and then he got shipped off to Vietnam, and then that was the breaking point. And when he came back, at some point he decided, Hmm, not This is for me anymore. I don't have to follow your rules. I can do what I want. The end times are upon us.
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Contact with one another. Eventually Michael Carroll goes out to visit with Charles Ng. He's kind of lured out there the same way that some of the other persons were that we've already discussed. He's made it to the top of the world. For a few days and that's when Leonard Lake and Eng decide, well we're gonna get in contact with Michael's girlfriend Kathleen Allen. She agrees to go with them because they tell her story that Michael has been injured, that he's been shot and she needs to go visit him. Before the days of cell phones, and she needs to go out of town and visit her boyfriend. So she goes with these two guys. She's going to find herself in a situation locked up at the lake and Eng house. And in this bunker that's been consumed. Constructed. We do end up learning a lot about Leonard Lake. A lot of that...
Comes from journals that he kept. He kept journals that he would make daily entries into. Kathleen Allen is discussed in. Of these entries.
Film other things, I mean, he has it where he is being interviewed on some of these videos. And that goes back to me, looking at this crimes, it goes back to this idea that Leonard Lake thought he was something way more important than he was. And that it was up to him to document all this stuff, whether it's through journaling or through photographs or through interviews or through pornography, that he is so special, he needs to document all this stuff. - Yeah, it's very strange. Because it's, you know, it's not the same exact risky behavior as BTK reaching out to the media or Zodiac reaching out to newspapers.
But in a way, it's creating more evidence against you. Very strange behavior, and I don't think that we, we may not ever fully understand this need that he seemed to have. For cataloging or at least documenting some of this behavior and some of the actions. Well, I'm glad you brought BTK because. Leonard Lake to me, if you've never seen him, he looks like a chubby version of Dennis Rader. - We also have the Bond family.
We got Lonnie Bond. We have his common law wife, and some sources refer to her as just living girlfriend. Her name is Brenda O'Connor. The two of them together have a son. These persons have the unfortunate luck of living near. Leonard Lake and Charles Ng. And they had regular communication or interactions with the one neighbor that they knew as Charles Gunner. Lonnie Bond and his son... And then wife they they go missing they are no longer seen at their home it's believed that lake was already stealing This was one of the neighbors that he had been stealing from. They had some kind of, I don't know if I want to call it a friendship.
But again, they're neighbors and they had regular interaction with one another. We're going to circle back to the bonds here in a little bit. This will be... they go missing at some point in April of 1985. So let's fast forward to June 2nd of 1985. We have Charles Ng. And Leonard Lake, they are at a lumber yard/hardware store. Charles Ng is spotted by... I the manager or the owner stealing from the store. - Yeah, the owner said that these two individuals. Came in from time to time. So when they came in together, they're like, Wow, those are those two guys that have been in the shop before. This time was different though because...
Charles grabs some items and then takes off running. Yeah, some of it was, it's been reported as building equipment. What's regularly reported is that it was a vice. And probably some other items. So the shop, they phone it into police, right? arrive on the scene. Well, unfortunately, the sirens are going to tip these two off. Charles Ng flees. Left behind is Leonard Lake. Leonard Lake is then offering to pay for all of these items. No, it's not. Just a misunderstanding. He wasn't stealing anything. It's not a big deal.
Pay for everything and we can all be on our merry way. Well, and like I said, these owners knew these two individuals. They've come into the store before. So I think that Leonard and Charles went into the store thinking that nobody knew that they were connected. So when Charles takes off with the items and then Leonard realizes they know that I'm connected to them. Hey guys, just some misunderstanding. I can make this right. Lucky for us, for whatever reason, 'cause most store owners would go, okay, yeah, fine, if you're gonna pay for the stuff, just pay for it and we'll call it a day. Lucky for us, they said, no, we're not gonna accept that. Call law enforcement. - Yeah, and you have to wonder if you, like you said, Captain, if they were familiar with these two, was there a...
Routine of, oh we got a couple items missing from our inventory. And then after a while you start to pick up, Oh, you know, this group of people, those persons were here yesterday or about that same time. Oh, every time we seem to see this one guy, we've never seen him steal anything. He seems like a nice enough guy, but there's always something that comes up missing. Maybe they were keeping a good eye on these two. And you say, and I said the same, they knew the workers, they knew these two because they regularly came into the store. But at this point. In our timeline, does anybody really know Leonard Lake? Has he used his real name on
any occasion at any time leading up to this. So this is what we get here is we get a very observant police officer. And we're also thankful that this is the way that this went down. Because what happens is Leonard Lake is there, as said, he's saying I can pay for this, no big deal, it's a big misunderstanding. When the police officer... Looks at Leonard Lake's identification. Oh, by the way, Leonard Lake is not... That name he's using the name of Robin Stapley. So he looks at Robin Stapley's California driver's license and the officer's like wait a second this the
In front of me and the guy in the picture on this driver's license, they don't look anything alike. We're going to phone this in, right? Call it into the department. I got a Robin Stapley here. He doesn't look anything like his driver's license. - Well, and then he has to call in the vehicle that this individual that he doesn't know who he is yet. They got to call in the vehicle. Cool. Robin Stapley, the officer learns, is a man from San Diego who was reported missing by his family. Well, that's a red flag. Then now you're looking at the vehicle. This air quotes Robin Stapley is driving a Honda Prelude. This Honda Prelude vehicle. Is registered to a one Paul Kosner. So now if you're the officer, you're sitting here going, is this Paul Kosner?
Using Robin Stapley's California driver's license for some reason. Right. Oh, you know what? Let's check the license plate on this Honda Prelude. The plate comes back registered to yet another. Person, Lonnie Bond. So you have a driver's license that doesn't look like the man standing in front of you. You have a vehicle that doesn't belong to the driver's license. And you have a license plate that doesn't belong to the registered name on the vehicle or the driver's license. And what laws are they going to do? enforcement is going to learn is all three of these individuals have been reported missing. have been reported missing and We're looking in this vehicle and we find a gun with a silencer on it. Got him. Well. He's not allowed to have a silencer. We've talked about suppressors in other episodes.
You will know that you have to have a license for those, which this individual is not able to provide. Is you start looking at this Honda Prelude and you see a bullet hole in the car's roof along with blood spatter. A stun gun, and several unspent bullets. Under the passenger seat, they find a gun. A utility bill that was in the name of Leonard Lake's ex-wife, Claire Lynn Blas. Which this is very helpful because this provides an ad- Because think about the situation if you're law enforcement at this point you've picked up this guy you have no clue who he is you've whole bunch of leads because he has items on his person that connect him to three different missing males. But in a sense you have no idea who this guy is.
Or where are these three missing people? And so when you see this bill and it gives you this address to this. Remote cabin, you go, okay, well, we need to go look into this remote cabin. But first we're going to take this guy back to headquarters. To figure out who the hell he is. Well, while there Leonard Lake, the man that. We know to be Leonard Lake, says that he's willing to talk, willing to cooperate with police. He asks for a pencil and some paper. He then pens a letter to someone, which we will later find out is to this Claire Lynn Balazs, while there's no one in the room with him, he takes a cyanide capsule.
He's found unresponsive in the room and rushed off to the nearby Kaiser hospital. It takes a couple of days, but Leonard Lake passes away. He dies at the hospital. He's pronounced dead on June 6th. While he's out and while he's in the hospital, unresponsive, of course, like the captain said, police are going to go out to this address that they find on this utility bill. There, they find what has been reflected. To from many different sources as a quote sea of evidence of murder, kidnapping, and torture that took place at this location. In fact, the newspapers, a lot of the newspapers were calling this a death camp, they have all these missing people. They've already tied this individual to this. And they have three missing persons tied to this individual. They're looking and sorting for evidence to figure out, are these people still alive if they are?
where are they? And if they're not, where are they? Well, and also, like you said, that that letter that he wrote before he committed suicide, basically was a suicide note. But obviously that in that note, it doesn't. Leave us a bunch of information or evidence to tell law enforcement what happened to these individuals. But they're going to find so much stuff on this property like you said before they're going to end up finding This journal and that journal is going to basically read like a playbook of the crimes that than Charles committed.
That Leonard Lake took his own life, that he had told her on multiple occasions if he was ever with law enforcement that he couldn't get out of, that he was going to be sent off to prison, he would kill himself. He had told her the same if there were an apocalyptic type event where he could not defend himself or didn't think he had a chance of survival, that he would take his own life. Going to go out on his terms. Well, and he told her, I carry around cyanide, so if something happens, I'm going to pop this pill and down I go. And the way that he did this at the police headquarters was he had
This pill or pills sewn into the collar of his shirt. So you can pat this guy down. Yeah, it would be easy to miss a pill. You could pull out his pockets, empty his pockets, and still not find his plan. And B, if you will. Let's go through some of the items of note. Notable items that were found at this property. Mind you, Charles Ng is still gone at this point. Yeah, he's on the run. He's on the run. What they find at the, again, the papers were calling it a death camp. They found a bunch of evidence that told them that Leonard Lake stole his brother's identity. He opened up a PO box in his brother's name and Donald Lake's name, and he was captured.
Eshing Donald Lake's disability checks. So there's one missing person and one crime that we can go, okay. It looks like Leonard is responsible for this plus law enforcement. The easy evidence is when they pull up to the property, all these vehicles that belong to these missing individuals. They also found evidence that told them that Leonard Lake also stole Charles Gunner, his best friend, his supposed best friend's identity, and was cashing his government chan- Then we have the bunker or the shed right behind the dwelling there. This was referred to as the bunker. Who buy both police and the newspapers as the dungeon. And inside this structure, detectives found posted on a wall a list of typewritten rules for female captives to follow. They also found pictures of 21 women.
Some of them nude. I do want to point out here that of the 21 women, they don't think that all. All of the 21 women were murder victims, but they definitely believe that some, if not many of them were. Some of those women, some of the pictures and the women in these pictures have been identified as murder victims. - And if you look at photos, there's actually quite a bit of photos of this. Facility. I don't even know what you want to call it. I mean, death bunker. I think dungeon. I think the papers and the police nailed it when they were calling it the dungeon. Yeah, because there was, you know... There was a room that was, there was basically a hidden door to get to the room. And it was basically a holding cell. Had this little tiny mirror, but as a one-way mirror. So basically they could monitor whoever
In that room they could monitor them in multiple ways. In that same room, there's a small mattress and a bucket that police believe was used as a toilet. it. A, you know, obviously they're seeing all the obvious signs that this was used to hold women in a cell type environment to keep, to keep them like Prisoners. In the room as well. Basically, so, hey, you got nothing else to do. You can either lay down or take a crap in the bucket, or you could read this list of rules.
They would also find a hand-drawn treasure map, and this is what led police to finding two buried five-gallon buckets. One of these buckets contained envelopes with names and victims' identifications, and the other bucket is where they found Leonard Lake's handwritten journals for the years of 1983 and 1984, along with two videotapes documenting the torture. Of two of the female victims. And on those videotapes, you can hear and see both Charles Ng and Leonard Lake in those videos. They also found some burn sites on the property. The treasure map, of course, is going to spearhead the...
Digging, the excavating of some of the land there. But these burn sites become part of this as well because They're now collecting ashes that have bones and teeth that didn't burn up, and even some fingernails and such. that so many people are saying that they're not going to be able to do it. Had tried to permanently destroy these bodies, these remains, so that they would never be found. But they're collecting all this evidence from the scene and they're walking out. Of the world.
The number most commonly reported is 25 murder victims. Unfortunately, that number has never been confirmed. That's the number that's reported the most often. But I saw several sources that were saying 27 at the time that they were suspected of 27 murders. Because a lot of this stuff was destroyed, and a lot of the remains destroyed, that they had a... Part-time figuring out exactly how many people were killed and kidnapped by these two individuals. One of the things that I thought was fascinating is you have some of these law enforcement agents that are going through this property looking for evidence, but they were individuals that worked some of these cases.
So you're walking through and you see a bunch of camera equipment and you're going, Hey, remember that family that went missing and we think that it had something to do with this camera equipment. Well, there's some camera equipment here. And they found paperwork with the Harvey Dubs name on it, receipts and stuff for that said camera equipment. And then, like I said, These vehicles. So once you find out that, well, there's one vehicle stolen from this guy and he's never been seen again and here's another, here's another vehicle from. Now we just got to try to find their remains somewhere on the property. One of the things that, uh, a question for you when I was looking at.
This is I wonder how many of these were planned victims, I think when they're stealing a car or taking a friend. Out to the middle of nowhere and stealing their identity, I think those are all planned victims. But I wonder how many people, because they did have land and they did have these rooms, did they have a situation where it's like, Hey, come out, work for us. And did that person find things that are not supposed to find? Or did Leonard and Charles sit them down and explain to them,
This is what we're doing. Do you want to be a part of it? - Well, we do know that detectives were very concerned about a possible third suspect being involved. They worked that angle for a long time in this case. We do know that in the end, they are telling us that they do not believe that a third suspect was involved. That it was just these two guys working together. And then we also know based off of the timeline that Charles Ng, while he was certainly a part of some of these kidnappings and homicides, he was not involved in the Donald Lake or Charles Gunner homicides. No, because he would have been in prison. At the time. Yeah, he was at Leavenworth. So Charles Gunner, strange, you know, they're looking and unfortunately Sifting through the ashes, if you will, on this property looking for victims.
Gunner is somebody that is immediately connected to monster Leonard Blake. However, they can't find... Any trace of him other than that his identity was stolen and that Lake was cashing Gunner's checks. They're searching this property in 1985 and the the the searches were extensive they went on and on because of just the nature of the landscape you can imagine how long they would have And you're also not in a great rush at the time because one of your perpetrators is dead. There's no trial for Leonard Lake. Now, in regards to Charles Gunner, they're searching the property in 1985. His body's not discovered. His body's unearthed. His remains are unearthed in 1992. When somebody else had
Owned the property and was digging for other purposes. So I think that what we cannot hit home enough in this case is the undetermined number of victims in this case. They don't, still to this day, they do not know exactly how many people were murdered by Leonard Lake or by Leonard Lake. In unison with Charles Ng. What we do know is Charles Ng did, he is eventually caught.
It's in July of '85. This guy, and this was a regular behavior of Ing's before the two got busted in San Francisco. He was a habitual shoplifter. He had received warnings from stores, he had been received a slap on the wrist at least once before they got busted. He's, he's attempting to steal items while on the run up in Canada. So he's arrested up in Canada. That law enforcement they're in communication now with the. Authorities in California who they're like, look, good thing you caught this shoplifter a suspected serial murderer and we have a lot of evidence suggesting that he's killed multiple people. There becomes this battle.
And I don't want to go through, I don't want to get into the weeds too much on this here, Captain, because it's a long, drawn out and even detailed, it's a laborious process to go through this portion of the story. And frankly, it wouldn't be, it would not hold the attention of the listeners, because it certainly did not hold my attention. We get this squabble. Over extradition here. Where the United States and the authorities in California are like, You need to send this dude to us. We can try him for murders and oh, by the way, that's capital punishment. We are going to, uh, the death penalty's on the table. For this guy. And rightfully so. Again, this is not a pro or a pro. Or negative death penalty show. But if you have it in your state, this guy, and they did have it.
This guy is certainly deserving of it if he is in fact guilty of all of these atrocities. So Canada at the time is saying, well, we're not going to send him back to you just so you can kill him. So there's this squabble for a period of time over whether they would even send him back. Thanks And this is the way that I heard it like 20 years ago. So I'm going to pull a, uh, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. So whether this is the truth or not. This is how I'm going to report it because this is the truth as I know it to be in the book die for me by Don Lasseter. Basically what they say is the United States at some point gets tired of fighting with Canada to get this guy back and they... Hey, you know what, if you really want him that bad, and if you really want to spare this monster's life, cool, you can have him. And the charges.
You pick them up on there, he will get out eventually. And since you want him so bad, you'll have to let him live there. Now you don't really want that, do you? Here's the evidence that we have against this guy as being a multiple murderer. Do you really want him running around on your streets up there? And so eventually Canada says, yeah, I think you're right. You can have him back. You guys figure out what to do with him. He ends up in trial. He doesn't go to trial until the 90s. And in fact, I believe it was something ridiculous like 12 or 14 years later. At one time, Charles Ng, the prosecution of Charles Ng was the most expensive prosecution in the... History of the state of California. It was millions of dollars, like something of upwards of $20 million to convict this guy. One thing that everybody remains very angry about to this day and right now is the fact
Thankfully so, Claire Lynn Balazs was given immunity for her cooperation in helping to prosecute Charles Ng. And identity are all over the place at that property. In fact, two of the guns that were used or believed used to murder some of these victims were registered to Claire Lynn Balas. To this day, Captain, and I think the authorities felt like their hands, their hand was forced a little bit here to grant her And to need her to work with them. I'm not convinced, using hindsight, I'm not convinced that they absolutely needed her or to grant her that sweetheart deal. I'm also not convinced...
She was fully aware of what was going on, but there are some, there are some markers here, right? The guns that were registered in her name. She already knew by her own admission to law enforcement, she was aware that Leonard Lake was committing crimes. She claims she was unaware that he was committing murder and kidnapping, but... They also found her name endorsing some of those checks that were coming in from identity. Over a decade. It's 1999 before he's on trial. These guys, their crime spree and
And then an immunity deal given to Claire Lynn Balazs. Here we sit today, Charles Ng, still incarcerated at San Quentin State Murdered. I mean, could you imagine being law enforcement and having to watch those tapes to try to collect more evidence?
- Right. - We do know that they were used as evidence. Of course, they would be used as evidence against Charles Ng as he's spotted in, he's seen in these videotapes. And they are, I'm trying to find a way to put this in its simplest form. - When the public hears about these tapes, I think that's what really drew attention to this case. Minds were intertwined and it seemed like they were enabling each other. And then I think it's also fast.
Would have been more in the heat of the moment, Blaze of Glory type stuff where he's going in with a group of men and violently robbing a bank or maybe force In fact, we do know that these two were different when they first met, and even when they joined back up in '84, based off of Leonard Lake's journal entries.
Out of the gate or not was that Charlie seems to not like my plan or not want to go along with my plan. - Yeah, you wonder also if ultimately would Leonard Lake take out Charlie? - But also I think it's very fascinating because Leonard Lake was living in a fantasy world of the novel The Collector. And Charles was almost living out any, you know, any, you know,
Die hard. That's what he was living out in their mind. They're both living in these fantasy worlds. And I think, again, but because of these tapes, these horrible tapes that were found, that's what drew the public's attention. Because I think the fastest That we have audio of that people want to hear those or see those things. It's because. It's been a while since I've seen this. No visual representation of the crime. Does that make any sense? So I think the fact that there is, and that if.
These crimes even more real and not just a story. Well, and I look I I don't want to
If one were to go looking hard enough and they can find it, are the transcripts. They have transcribed all of the audio from those videotapes. I've reviewed that multiple times. I don't feel great talking about it here. It doesn't do anything for our story or for the purpose of locking anybody up or finding the bad guy. What it does, if anybody is curious, That I believe that it needed to be. So when you have that type of situation, that is suggestive to me that there are persons out there that thought, well, maybe Charles Ng was some kind of victim himself, that he was just another pawn in Leonard Lake's big
Threatening the victim. Is he being subservient to Leonard Lake? Yeah, yeah he is. Mind you, he is sentenced, was sentenced to death. The presiding judge at Charles Ng's trial said, Mr. Ng was not under any duress, nor evidence support that he was under the domination of Leonard Lake, meaning that the judge, after reviewing everything, was 100% convinced that in the 11 homicides that Charles Engle
Was convicted of, that he did this willingly. If you need more True Crime Garage for your ear balls, make sure you subscribe on Apple This video. Recommending a fictional book titled A Letter from Sherry by Cheryl Grant. Letter from Sherry is a story inspired by California serial killer murders executed by Charles Ng and Leonard Lake. - Taylor Grant was adopted at a very young age, and she grew up believing that her biological mother
Her biological father. When she was a teenager, she began searching for answers. As an adult, her biological aunt found her and confirmed that her for Mother, Sherry Otoro, had been a victim of the Calaveras County, California, killers, Charles Ng and Leonard Lake. 1985. She reached out to the retired detective on the case and he sent her her an 11-page letter written by her mother while she was being held against the wall. Against her will by Lake and Ng. That 11-page letter addressed to no one simply left her. They're hoping that someone would find it found its way somehow to Cheryl that. Answered almost every question that Cheryl had about who her mother was. Why Cheryl was put up for adoption and why her mother was no longer around.
I just finished this book earlier this week and it's a great read. It's powerful with all the tools and resources available. Lot of emotion and it was hard to put down. So go and check out a letter. From Sherry by Cheryl Grant. You can find that great recommendation and many more, including podcasts and documentaries, on our recommended page on our website. Site truecrimegarage.com. - Yeah, and while you're at truecrimegarage.com. Up on the mailing list. Until next week. Be good, be kind, and don't litter.
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Transcript generated on 2024-05-01.