February 24, 1999
SANTA ANA, California (CNN) -- The son of a wealthy Hong Kong businessman who evaded authorities for years was found guilty on Wednesday of murdering 11 people in a series of sex slavery killings in California dating back to 1984 and 1985.
The jury also found special circumstances of multiple murder that make Charles Ng, 38, eligible for the death penalty. Whether he is put to death or spends life in prison will be determined in a separate penalty phase of the trial due to begin March 8, 1999.
After a four-month trial and two weeks of jury deliberations, Ng was convicted of killing six men, three women and two baby boys during a mid-1980s murder spree in northern California.
The judge declared a mistrial on one of the 12 murder counts against Ng after jurors pronounced themselves deadlocked on it.
Ng looked down at the defendants' table as the verdicts were read and showed no reaction.
He maintained his innocence at the trial, testifying in court that while he appeared on videotapes torturing and sexually abusing two women victims, he did not kill anyone.
Ng blamed his alleged accomplice, fugitive survivalist Leonard Lake, who committed suicide nearly 14 years ago.
In all, 11 people were killed in 1984 and 1985 as part of a kidnapping and sex slavery plot hatched by Lake and carried out with Ng's help, authorities said.
Some victims were videotaped, and the tapes were played in court.
"You can cry and stuff like the rest of them," Ng tells a terrified victim, 19-year-old Brenda O'Connor, on one tape. Ng is shown tearing the T-shirt and bra off O'Connor, who disappeared in April 1985.
"It won't do you no good. We're pretty cold-hearted," he says.
She, her boyfriend and their 1-year-old son were among the victims.
The videotapes were found in a cabin in Wilseyville, east of San Francisco in the Sierra Nevada foothills where the charred and buried remains of at least 19 people were found.
Lake, who lived in Calaveras County about 150 miles east of San Francisco, committed suicide by swallowing cyanide pills sewn into his clothes after police questioned him in June 1985.
Ng fled to Canada and fought extradition for six years, extending the case into one of California's longest and costliest homicide prosecutions.
His trial was moved to Orange County, in southern California, because of pre-trial publicity.
Orange County Superior Court
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.