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Canada Extradites Man Accused of Sex-Torture Slayings

September 27, 1991 GMT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ A man who fought extradition from Canada for more than four years because he could face the death penalty in 13 grisly slayings has been returned to California.

Charles Ng, 30, was to be arraigned this afternoon in Calaveras County, where he and survivalist Leonard Lake allegedly turned a rural mountain compound into a sex-torture bunker. Prosecutors contend the pair videotaped the agony of some of their victims.

Lake committed suicide by swallowing cyanide as police questioned him about the case in June 1985.

Ng, pronounced ″Ing,″ was isolated at Folsom Prison near Sacramento after being flown under heavy guard to McClellan Air Force Base. He left Calgary, Alberta earlier Thursday after the Supreme Court of Canada authorized his extradition.

Because Canada does not have a death penalty, Canadian officials were reluctant to approve his return. Ng’s lawyers argued that he shouldn’t be returned to face such a penalty.

The Canadian Supreme Court said the Canadian prohibition against ″cruel and unusual punishment does not apply because any executions would be carried out under U.S. law against U.S. citizens for crimes committed in the United States.″

U.S. Marshal Arthur Van Court said Ng was kept under tight security because he was considered an escape risk and to protect him from possible harm.

″His alleged crimes are so dastardly,″ Van Court said. ″The relatives or wives, brothers, fathers, sons of all of these victims - I can understand their fury with this particular individual in these circumstances. ″

Ng was to be arraigned in San Andreas, a town about 150 miles east of San Francisco and 25 miles from the Sierra Nevada hideaway where he and Lake allegedly tortured and killed several victims.

Authorities discovered piles of charred bones, bloody tools, shallow graves, Lake’s 250-page diary and videotapes of sexual torture on the 2 1/2 -acre property.

The fenced compound included a cinder-block bunker with a crudely built wooden cell that authorities say Lake and Ng used to torment men, women and children.

Ng claimed Lake was responsible for the crimes. Police say Ng appears on some of the videotapes, including one in which he threatens a terrified woman with a knife.

Ng is accused of a total of 13 slayings - 12 in Calaveras County and one in San Francisco.

A former U.S. Marine, he was convicted in a 1981 court-martial of stealing grenade launchers, M-16 rifles and several pistols from a Hawaii military base. He was ordered to serve 14 years in prison, but the sentence was later reduced to three years.

He fled to Canada in June 1985 after Lake’s arrest and was the subject of a massive manhunt. He was captured a month later in Calgary after a botched shoplifting attempt and served a 4 1/2 -year sentence for wounding a security guard. He could have been extradited after 18 months.

Calaveras County District Attorney John Martin said the years of delay wouldn’t hurt the prosecution’s case. ″We think the case is just as good now as it always was,″ Martin said.