Calaveras County officials Wednesday filed eight counts of murder against Charles C. Ng, one of two men blamed for a gruesome cache of human remains found earlier this year near a remote cabin in Wilseyville.
Along with eight other felony counts filed here--accusing Ng of conspiracy and kidnaping--and another murder count filed Wednesday in San Francisco, the charges will let U.S. authorities formally request Ng's extradition from Canada.
The complaints filed Wednesday are the first formal charges made against Ng, who is suspected of participating with Leonard T. Lake in luring as many as 22 people to the remote cabin, where they were allegedly killed.
Authorities said some of the bodies were so badly mutilated they probably will never be identified.
Earlier, only arrest warrants had been issued by authorities; these are not sufficient to start extradition proceedings.
Lake killed himself in June by swallowing a poison capsule shortly after being arrested during a failed shoplifting attempt by Ng at a lumberyard in South San Francisco.
Ng fled the scene of that crime and became the subject of an international manhunt after authorities traced Lake back to this rural area 125 miles east of San Francisco and started searching his cabin.
Ng, a 24-year-old ex-Marine, is awaiting trial on a single count of attempted murder in Calgary, Alberta, where he was captured after shooting and wounding a store security guard during another unsuccessful shoplifting attempt in July. The Canadian trial is scheduled to start in January.
Ng is charged here with murder under special circumstances--multiple murder--a charge that carries the death penalty. There is some doubt whether Canada, which has abolished capital punishment, will extradite Ng to face the gas chamber.
Calaveras County Dist. Atty. John E. Martin, however, said that issue did not enter his thinking while he drew up the charges.
"My job in representing the people of the state of California is to look at a set of facts and prosecute to the best of my ability," he said. "After seeing the evidence from the various agencies involved, I believe that I can prove murder with special circumstances."
Extradition matters, he said simply, "will have to be handled through diplomatic channels."
Many of the victims apparently were hacked to pieces, their bodies burned and the remains buried in trenches and shallow graves or scattered over the dry, wooded Sierra foothills near the cabin rented by Lake.
So far, Martin said, pathologists have identified the bodies of only two of the eight people Ng is charged with killing in Wilseyville. They are Robin Scott Stapley, 26, of San Diego and Lonnie Bond Sr., Lake's former neighbor in Wilseyville and a former San Diego resident.
Victims in Complaint
The criminal complaint filed against Ng in county Justice Court here also accuses him of acting with Lake to kill Kathleen Allen, 18, of San Jose; Brenda O'Connor, Bond's companion, and their 2-year-old son, Lonnie Jr.; Michael S. Carroll, 23, of Milpitas, and two men who worked with Ng at a San Francisco moving company, Clifford P. Peranteau, 24, and Jeffrey D. Gerald, 25.
"It's true that in (six) cases we don't have a body," he said. "But you do not need a body to prosecute for murder. It does make it more difficult, but I believe we can do it."
He confirmed that a videotape discovered at the cabin shows Ng threatening Allen and O'Connor.
In the San Francisco case, Ng is accused of the July, 1984, handgun murder of disc jockey Donald Giuletti in the victim's San Francisco home. Ng also was charged with the attempted murder of Giuletti's roommate, Richard Carrazza.
In addition, San Francisco homicide investigator Jeff Brosch said, "we'll probably be able to prove" Ng's involvement in the disappearance and presumed murder of San Franciscans Paul Cosner, 40, and the entire Dubs family: Deborah, 33; Harvey, 29, and their 16-month-old son, Sean.
Lake and Ng were driving Dubs' Honda at the time of the lumberyard incident, and some videotape equipment belonging to the Dubs family was found at Lake's cabin.
Authorities also have identified the remains of a third man buried at the Wilseyville site, Randy Jacobson of San Francisco. But Martin said Ng has not been charged with Jacobson's murder because there is not yet enough evidence linking Ng to Jacobson.
He declined to give details on any evidence because of a gag order in the case.
However, Calaveras County Coroner Terry Parker did acknowledge that many teeth and small bone fragments plucked from the dirt around Lake's cabin will likely never be formally identified.
That assessment was confirmed by Joe Doane, assistant chief of the criminal investigation bureau at the California Department of Justice in Sacramento.
"So much of that stuff (bones) was absolutely unidentifiable," he said.
Nonetheless, Martin said pathologists at the San Francisco coroner's office still are trying to identify further victims.