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What I want is an off-the-shelf sex partner. I want to be able to use a woman whenever or however I want. And when I’m tired or bored or not interested I simply want to put her away lock her up in a little room, get her out of my sight, out of my life.
~ Lake talking about Project Miranda in his philosophy tape.
Leonard Lake (October 29, 1945 - June 6, 1985) was a serial killer who along with his accomplice Charles Ng. Filmed themselves raping, torturing and murdering 11 to 25 people between 1983 and 1985. Most of his murders took place was at his cabin in Calaveras County, California. He used various other alias like Charles Gunnar.

Early Life

Lake was born in San Francisco. When he was at the age of six his parents separated, where he and siblings had to live with there grandmother. Though bright. He photographed his sister nude, which his grandmother encouraged. Leonard completely became obsessed with pornography. He extorted sexual favors towards his sister. He collected mice and later killed some by dissolving them in chemicals.

Military service

After graduating high school, Lake enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War. He served as a radar technician in Da Nang. Never saw any combat. Later, medically discharged when he was diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder.

Later life

Lake later lived in San Jose and enrolled at university, but later dropped out. He became a hippie and lived on a commune north of Ukiah. He married his first wife but divorced her later, upon discovering that he was starring in pornographic films depicting bondage. Leonard met Claralyn Balazs who he nicknamed Cricket at a renaissance fair where he used a goat with a unicorn horn on it. Soon they got married. Cricket would later star in Lake's pornographic films.

Lake met another marine named Charles Ng through a magazine advertisement he placed. Ng would later live with Lake and Balazs. But he was stealing weapons from a military base in Hawaii. The federal authorities raided Lake's house for stashes of weapons and explosives. Lake was released on $6000 bond and jumped bail. Charles who on the other hand returned to military custody and pleaded guilty for theft and desertion charges. Ng served 18 months at Fort Leavenworth where he was later paroled and dishonorably discharged from service.


Lake soon reunited with Ng. After he rented a cabin in Wilseyville. Next to the cabin, Lake had constructed a bunker or dungeon as described in his journal. Over a year Lake and Ng began a series of kidnappings, rapes, tortures and murders called Operation Miranda, named after the character Miranda from John Fowles' novel The Collector. Though, Lake before reuniting with Ng, had already murdered his brother Donald and friend Charles Gunnar. They would find placed ads on newspapers from people either wanting to sell or rent their belongings. Lake and Ng would kill the men as they viewed them as threats, while they kept the women in the bunker for some time until they were murdered or died of their wounds. Also, Leonard and Charles killed babies from two families.

Arrest and Death

On June 2, Charles Ng was caught stealing a bench vise from a South San Francisco hardware store putting the vise into the trunk of a 1980 Honda Prelude, which later revealed to have belonged to Paul Cosner who went missing severn months earlier with license plates belonging to Lonnie Bond. Immediately the employees had call the police. Ng later fled the scene. While, Lake tried to give money to the store owners but rejected his offer. When the police came and questioned him, Lake had an ID that wasn’t even his and presented himself as Robin Scot Stapley. The officer found a pistol with an illegal silencer on it. Lake was soon arrested and interrogated by the detectives who began questioning Stapley and he revealed himself to be Lake and as they walked out of the room Leonard write a note which in fact was a suicide note. Then he took two cyanide pills sowed into his shirt and drunk the glass of water ultimately collapsing onto the floor. He died four days later on the hospital bed.

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