More on Charles Ng, A Death Row Inmate

September 21st, 2011 // 10 Comments

It is difficult to see him as a dead man walking. He certainly doesn’t see himself as such though his chances of ever getting out alive are about zero. I have a hard time with miracles. They obviously happen when least expected and one can’t count on them. I don’t think Charles has a prayer unless California abolishes the death penalty. In that case he’ll still spend the rest of his life in a cell that has nothing but a bunk, a toilet and a basin. Food is shoved in on a tray and he gets to see daylight for twenty minutes a day. He is being severely punished. Meeting a guy like him truly has me wonder and I don’t even know about what? The situation is so hopeless. I had never confronted anything like that. Up to this point there was always a way out – if nothing esle, there is always suicide. But for Charles even that is not an option. I’ll never know why? He’d make things easier for everybody, except he is not suicidal. So that is out in any case. All he can think of is a visitor who would provide him with his favorite food – a treat. Now that is down to basics. He got upset because we didn’t heat his hamburger properly and complained that we forgot the orange. Once you’re in the cage there is not coming and going. You stay or leave for good. Usually you stay for the whole duration of the visit. We are polite people and don’t want to deprive him of our company since we made the effort of coming, after making an appointment to see him.

He doesn’t seem concerned about the severity of his predicament. Instead he rehashes the insults he had to endure, both at the Folsom Prison which makes St. Quentin seem like a resort, and the indifference of the judicial system whereby lawyers and judges only think of what looks good for them and their reputation. There is no sense of guilt or remorse, of defeat or rebellion. He adapted to  his shackles and life in captivity. After twenty some years it became habit.

I read about the murders his buddy Lennard Lake commited. The police had found human body parts carefully chopped up as if they were cut to fit a small container. Lake was convinced everybody would die in a nuclear war. At the time that was a common consideration. Though few people built bunkers – he had – the possibility was in the news and children were drilled to seek shelter – as if hiding under the desk could save them from anything. Lake grew up in that environment and had seen bloodshed during the Vietnamese War. Charles was his friend. Lake had taken him in and sheltered him from getting him  arrested for stealing weapons. “I was going to take them back,” was all Chalres had to say. “Guys did it all the time. Went out shooting and then returned them. They nailed me because I’m an Asian.”  Could be.

We are preparing for another visit. Perhaps Valerie and I can coax him into some explanation about his feelings as a human being in chains, living in a cage like an animal in the zoo, waiting for treats.

10 Responses

  1. Crusader says:

    As a longtime activist involved in prison outreach, I have known Charles since he was housed at Orange County Jail in Santa Ana, California, where his trial was held. I was a court-appointed paralegal for another inmate.

    We’ve been corresponding on a regular basis ever since, and I hope to visit Charles and others in prison (or on death row) when my financial situation improves and I can take some time off from my proofreading business.

    Interesting to read about someone’s visit with Charles, as opposed to just the usual rants out there on cyberspace that he is a monster and must die.

    Quite frankly, there were errors during his trial, but since I am not an attorney, I am not sure they are enough to warrant a new trial; however, I have always encouraged Charles to pursue obvious civil rights violations that took place and may have prevented him from having a fair trial. that will be for the attorneys and courts to have a final say on.

    Charles and I have never discussed the alleged crimes, simply because that is not my role with prison outreach. No doubt, the crimes he and Leonard Lake were convicted of are some of the most brutal and atrocious I have ever heard of.

    • Joey says:

      What about the civil rights of those innocent women and children that Charles and Lake killed ! He was in the Marines with me at Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station , we were in weapons company he was in dragon platoon I was in mortar platoon . He was prejudice hated African Americans , had strange ability to control others as I knew the Marines that robbed the weapons from armory – these were good Marines how he was able to get them to commit such a stupid crime and ruin their lives with a dishonorable discharge I will never know . This animal deserves no sympathy he deserves to face the angel of death ! Under Lakes control BULLSHIT !! He should have put a bullet in Lakes brain as soon as Lake suggested abductibg woman he joined him in his sick dance of death and enjoyed it .

  2. Much appreciated for the information and share!

  3. gisi says:

    I was so touched by your comment. In my eyes we are all human beings, most of us are good people, some are not, many suffer from delusions or are haunted by spirits. In my book “Mephisto Waltz” I portrayed people who are possessed by an evil spirit, how helpless they are and why they seem mad to outsiders. Not that it’s an excuse for killing others. The world is filled with mysteries we can’t understand. Charles, by becoming a friend of Lake’s, fell into the hands of a mad man. His escape was from being incarcerated, a common reaction under the circumstances. At the moment I am mainly interested in finding the man, the human being who must live in a tiny cell waiting for his execution. Though I don’t think there is much of a chance that it will happen since they have an enormous backlog (700 prisoners on death row). The whole scene is so new to me that I’ll describe my discoveries as they come about. Considering what he’s been through, he seems quite sane and a good conversationalist. I enjoy my visits with him, watching him eat hungrily to make sure he gets it all in before the visiting time is up.
    There you have it – so far.
    The media is paid for sensational portrayals of ugly incidents. People love to be shocked, I guess. And the media delivers or gets off the air or print.

  4. David says:


    Is it difficult to see Charles in this state because you find it hard to see any human in his situation or because you think that Charles doesn’t deserve to be where he is?
    If the later, how does one just ignore the demands of justice for those that were tortured and then killed? Surely their real suffering is much greater than the loss of freedom.
    Charles deserves much worse. The victims of his direct actions shouldn’t be overlooked.

  5. gisi says:

    I’m not saying that Charles is innocent. But there is no proof that he personally killed the victims. Yes, the murders are deplorable. Lake had been on a killing spree long before Charles showed up on the premises.
    Charles was a fugitive and was taken in by Lake, and became a convenient servant and accomplice. (My interpretation.) He needed shelter and that was the price. Yes, horrible. Lake’s ex, Cricket, who was with him during all those years the murders were committed. She received a plea-bargain and was not even put on the witness stand. Cricket was released. Charles cared for her, not that he had anything to say in the matter. His ill-prepared lawyers ran the case. Our judicial system is the best there is, but not perfect. It works for people who can pay for their lawyers, a la OJ Simpson. Charles deserves to be punished, but the death penalty? When there is no DNA evidence, or eye-witnesses other than the video tapes. I’m certainly no advocate for his release, just wanted to draw attention to take a closer look at the conviction and his treatment vs. the treatment of other inmates under similar circumstances.

  6. anne says:

    He has been left alive for too long. He is on video participating in his crimes (files never released because of their depravity). I sure hope none of u have children, because if u do, then you should be ashamed. ‘Frying babies in a wok or microwaving them’. For all you people helping him and giving him the time of day, why not spend it on someone else who is on death row without the sadistic overtones of this crime. I feel the people who choose this particular prisoner to aid are just a little psychologically and morally deficient with a ridiculous need to feel better about themselves and a love for the gore.

  7. Anormous says:

    My husband went to school with Ng and he was a bad person there he was a thief and a collector of terrible weapons from a very young age. He was thrown out of his school in Hong Kong and sent to one in the Lake District England where he showed crazy behaviour there. He betrayed his friends and can not be trusted. He should have his life taken from him like he as done to others or let Dextor free on him. There is no place in this world for people like him.

  8. wildflowers says:

    Brenda was my closest dearest best friend. If I had thrown a tantrum my husband at that time now ex, would of gave in and would of let me fly back with her…. she so wanted me to come with her and I couldn’t if I had I might of met the same fate… that was the last time I saw her. I will never have a friend like her again. Our boys would of grown up together to this day if she was here we would still be carry-on like school girls talking forever on the phone…. and when I think back at some of our conversations of the questions I would be asking her like what are you doing and what are you looking at and why are you so quite…her responses and what she saw was a nightmare that was about to become hers and in the end mine…If I could of,should of,would of known GOD I prayed. Lake and Ng will have to answer for their crime, as hard as it is to admit and swallow it is not what God wants or allows me to do,that day is his 2Pet3:7 and I know I will see her sweet face again.

    • gisi says:

      I feel your pain. However, there is no real evidence that Charles killed anybody. No eye-witness, DNA samples, or other proof. All there is is circumstantial evidence. Nobody cared to hear his side of the story. Over the years, since I’ve been visiting Charles, I got to know him quite well and the circumstances of his life. I have no intention of justifying or even commenting on the case. We are quick to judge and our judicial system leaves a lot to be desired – but it’s the best there is. Whatever I say or write will not bring Brenda back. We must live with our loss and move on. Hatred, blame and grudges don’t fix anything.

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