Leonard Lake PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 10 March 2009 09:38

leonard lake Leonard Lake

Born: October 29, 1945 San Francisco, California

Died: June 6, 1985, San Fransisco

Age: 39

Cause of death: Suicide by cyanide.

Notable because: Early fixation with deviant sex and pornography turned into a partnership with Charles Ng. The two went on to abduct torture rape and kill around 25 of their friends. Devised 'Operation Miranda' where he, a survivalist, would repopulate the post nuclear world with his collection of female slaves.

Leonard Lake was an American serial killer. The crimes he committed together with Charles Ng came to light when Lake committed suicide by taking a cyanide pill shortly after being arrested for a firearms offense.Charles Ng & Leonard Lake

Lake was born in San Francisco, California. He was a bright child, but had an obsession with pornography that stemmed from taking nude photos of his sisters, apparently with the encouragement of his grandmother. It was also alleged that Lake extorted sexual favors from his sisters in return for protecting them from their younger delinquent brother, Don. When Lake was 6, he and his siblings were sent to live with their grandparents after their parents had separated.

In 1965 at age 19, Lake joined the U. S. Marine Corps and served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War as a radar operator. Diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder, Lake was eventually given a medical discharge in 1969 and underwent psychotherapy. Back in civilian life, he was living in San Jose, California, and briefly attended San Jose State University, however he dropped out after one semester. It is believed that he joined a group of hippies in the early 1970s and settled with them in a commune. In 1975 Lake married, but the marriage dissolved quickly because his wife had found out that he was making and starring in amateur pornographic movies, usually involving bondage or sadomasochism.

In 1980, Lake was released from prison and given a year's probation for car theft. He married again in 1981 to Claralyn Balasz, a woman he had met while working at a renaissance fair in 1977. However, Balasz soon left him after she got tired of her husband's increasingly erratic behavior and his insistence that she star in pornographic films. Lake was arrested in 1982 for a firearms violation, but he skipped bail and settled into a remote ranch in Wilseyville, Calaveras County, owned by his ex-wife Balasz. In 1982, Lake met a man from Hong Kong named Charles Ng and the two struck up a friendship. Lake and Ng took residence at Lake's remote ranch in Wilseyville where they began abducting, torturing, raping and killing people. Most of Lake and Ng's victims were people who knew them.


On June 2, 1985, an Asian-American man later identified as Charles Ng was seen shoplifting in South San Francisco. He fled by the time police arrived, but Leonard Lake, who was with him, was arrested when his car was searched and found to contain a pistol illegally equipped with a silencer.

He identified himself as Robin Stapley and had a driver's license in that name. Police were suspicious because, according to the driver's license, Robin Stapley was 26 while the man they had in custody was clearly in his late 30s. While being interviewed at the police station, Lake asked for a glass of water and used it to swallow a cyanide pill hidden in the lapel of his shirt. He collapsed and was rushed to a hospital, where he went into a coma, and survived on life support machines for four days before being pronounced dead.

By then, police had confirmed the true identity of their suspect as Leonard Lake. Furthermore, the man whose identity Lake had taken, Robin Stapley, had been missing for several weeks. Lake's car was found to belong to Paul Cosner, 39, who had gone missing eight months previously in November 1984.

The police searched Lake's ranch in Wilseyville. It was clear Lake was a survivalist, his ranch fitted with a bunker and a stash of weapons. In a diary, Lake had written how he was convinced there was going to be a global nuclear war, and he planned on surviving in his bunker and rebuilding the human race with a collection of female slaves (he named this plan "Operation Miranda" after a character in the book The Collector by John Fowles). The police also found videos showing Lake and Ng torturing and raping women.

The grounds of the ranch were dug up and 12 corpses were uncovered in shallow graves. Among these victims were two families: Harvey Dubs and his wife, Deborah, and baby son, Sean; and Lonnie Bond and Brenda O'Conner and their baby son, Lonnie Bond Jr. The women had been abused, and killed after their husbands and infants were disposed of. Five of the bodies were of men lured to the ranch to be robbed and killed — including Robin Stapley and Paul Cosner — and the 12th was identified as 18-year-old Kathleen Allen, who knew Ng because her boyfriend had once been his cellmate in prison. Police also found charred fragments of human bones, but they were unable to determine the identity of the victims or how many.Leonard Lake (AP)

Lake's younger brother, Donald, had vanished in 1983 and was presumed dead, as had Charles Gunnar, a friend of Lake's from his military days, whose remains were discovered at the ranch in September 1992.

Authorities have recovered more than 45 pounds of bone fragments, which could have come from as many as 25 people.

An episode of "Deranged" and an episode of "Wicked Attraction", both aired on the Investigation Discovery channel, were dedicated to the murder spree of Lake and Charles Ng.


When Officer Daniel Wright, of the South San Francisco police, responded to a routine shoplifting call at South City lumberyard, he had no idea what he was about to uncover. All that he knew was that a sales clerk had witnessed an Asian man hiding a bench vise inside his jacket, and had asked another employee to call the police.

When he arrived at the scene he pulled up next to a 1980 Honda Prelude and was approached by the clerk and another larger man with a beard. The clerk pointed out the vise, which lay in the open trunk of the Honda and told Wright that he had seen the Asian man put it there before running off.

Wright looked into the car and saw another bag containing what he thought was a handgun. After a closer inspection of the bag, he found a loaded .22 revolver and a silencer. At this point, the bearded man approached Wright and showed him a sales receipt. "Here's the receipt," he said. "I've paid for the vise my friend took, there's no need for the police." Without answering, Officer Wright returned to his car and used his radio to check the Honda's registration number. While he was waiting for a response he asked the bearded man,

"Who does this car belong to?"

The man replied, "Lonnie Bond."

"Where is he?" Wright asked.

"Up north," came the reply.

At that time, Wright returned to the radio and was informed that the Honda's registration number "838WFQ" belonged to a Buick, registered in the name of Lonnie Bond. After advising the man that swapping registration plates was a crime, Wright asked for I.D. and was given a driver's licence in the name of Robin S. Stapley, a 26-year-old San Diego resident. At that point, Wright became increasingly suspicious, as the bearded man looked considerably older than the age stated on the license.

Wright then picked up the gun and asked the man, "Don't you know it's illegal to carry a silenced weapon."

"It's not mine, it belongs to Lonnie. I just use it to shoot beer cans."

Wright then used the radio a second time to check the serial number of the weapon and found that it was registered to Robin S. Stapley.

"You're under arrest," Wright told the bearded man.

"What for?"

"Owning an illegal weapon."

"I told you, it's not mine," the man replied.

"You say that you're Stapley right? Well the gun is registered in your name."

After handcuffing the man and reading him his rights, Officer Wright locked him in the rear of the car and returned to the sales clerk to obtain a description of the other man, which he then broadcast. — "Asian male, slight build, about twenty-five, last seen wearing a parka."

After arranging for the Honda to be towed to the police impound yard, Wright drove his prisoner to South City police station where he was placed in an interrogation room and told to empty his pockets. Among his possessions, he had a travel receipt in the name of Charles Gunnar.

"Who's Gunnar?" Wright asked.

At that point, another officer advised Wright that the vehicle identification number on the Honda revealed that it belonged to a man named Paul Cosner who had been reported missing to the San Francisco Police nine months earlier. When Wright told the bearded man what he had been told, the man went pale and asked for a pen and paper and a glass of water.

"Are you going to write a confession?" Wright asked.

"No," the man answered, "Just a note to my wife."

After asking for his handcuffs to be released, the man scribbled a short note and placed it in his shirt pocket.

"I can have that delivered for you if you like," Wright told him.

The man then said, "I didn't think a lousy bench vise would bring me to this."

When Wright asked him to repeat what he'd said, the man continued. "My friend's name is Charlie Chitat Ng, Chitat, pronounced Cheetah and Ng, pronounced Ing."

He then told Wright that his real name was Leonard Lake and that he was a fugitive wanted by the FBI. Without saying another word, Lake then took something from the lapel of his shirt and placed it in his mouth. Within seconds, his eyes rolled back in his head as he went into convulsions. Wright called for help and checked the prisoner's pulse. He was alive but just barely. Police later discovered that Lake had taped two cyanide capsules to the underside of his shirt lapel.

As the paramedics carried Lake to an ambulance and conveyed him to hospital, Wright wondered why a man would want to kill himself over a stolen car; he was soon to get his answer.



Die for Me: The Terrifying True Story of the Charles Ng & Leonard Lake Torture Murders

Author: Don Lasseter
Manufacturer: Pinnacle
Amazon Price: $6.50
Offers - Buy New From: $73.44 Used From: $6.23
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Editorial Review: In 1985, Charles Ng and Leonard Lake were spotted shoplifting. Ng escaped, but Lake's capture led police to a concrete bunker in the Sierra Nevada foothills, where they discovered the grisly evidence of an orgy of sex crimes, torture and murder that claimed at least sixteen victims. Lake committed suicide: Ng fled to Canada, where he was tracked down and extradited to California. This 14-year, $10 million legal case was the costliest and longest criminal prosecution in California history. Ng is currently on Death Row.


Lake Superior Vacation Super Coloring Book

Author: Jobe Leonard
Manufacturer: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Amazon Price: $6.99
Offers - Buy New From: $6.39 Used From: $7.38
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Editorial Review: This is the most awesome coloring book on the market. Adults call it an adult coloring book. Children call it theirs. This Super Coloring Book contains a combination of the Best-Selling and world famous Lake Fun Book and Water Safety book all in one 128 page SUPER, AWESOME, AMAZING coloring book. Perfect for adults, children, and summer vacations worldwide.


DIE FOR ME: The Terrifying True Story of the Charles Ng & Leonard Lake Torture Muders

Author: Don Lasseter
Manufacturer: Pinnacle
Amazon Price: $6.99
Offers - Buy New From: $69.31 Used From: $8.99
Buy Now
Editorial Review: They killed for thrills...It began with a shoplifting arrest. It led to a search of a remote California hamlet called Wilseyville that yielded six bodies, 45 pounds of burned bone fragments, and a child's liver. Then, horror-struck investigators made the most chilling discovery of all: the videotape that showed what Charles Ng and Leonard Lake did to their handcuffed female victims before snuffing them out.Here is the terrifying story of one of the most notorious serial killer teams in American history - a pair of maniacs whose orgy of sex crimes, torture, and murder took the lives of at least sixteen victims. From Charles Ng's strange Hong Kong childhood to his twisted friendship with co-conspirator Leonard Lake, "Die For Me" is the graphic portrait of two monsters who walked among us - Lake, who took his own life, and Ng, who will die by lethal injection.


The Sex Slave Murders 3: The Horrific Tale of Serial Killers Leonard Lake & Charles Ng

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Prop 8 - The Musical starring Jack Black

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Last Updated on Thursday, 10 February 2011 13:45

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