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Prosecution Wraps Up Case Against Ng

Trial: Jurors are shown accused serial killer's drawings of alleged victims.


SANTA ANA — Prosecutors wrapped up their case against accused serial killer Charles Ng by presenting a series of cartoons Tuesday that they said the defendant drew of his alleged murder victims while in a Canadian prison.

The state rested its case two months after the trial began and well ahead of schedule. Orange County Deputy Public Defender William Kelley, who is representing Ng, said he expects the trial to be much shorter than the nine months he previously estimated, but he declined to predict when the case will go to the Orange County Superior Court jury.

"It depends on what the judge will let us do," he said. Jurors return to court Nov. 30 for the start of Ng's defense.

Ng, 38, is accused of killing 12 people in 1984 and 1985 in a cabin in a remote area near the Sierra foothills, 150 miles east of San Francisco. Authorities charge that Ng and an accomplice, Leonard Lake, lured their victims to the property and stripped them of their belongings, and, in the case of two women, used them as sex slaves before killing them.

Ng faces the death penalty if convicted. Lake committed suicide while in police custody in 1985.

On Tuesday, the prosecution presented deposition testimony from the late Joseph Maurice Laberge, a fellow inmate of Ng's in Canada, where Ng was arrested and held pending extradition. Laberge testified in his 1988 deposition that Ng confessed to the series of killings during the many extensive conversations the pair had.

Laberge stated that he received nearly 150 sketches drawn by Ng. Laberge turned them over to his attorney in an effort to become an informant in Ng's case and receive a more lenient sentence for himself, according to court testimony.

Laberge was killed in a car accident earlier this year near Calgary, and the transcripts of his deposition were used. Prosecutors also presented sketches that Ng allegedly made to illustrate his stories to Laberge.

The last witness was Lloyd Cunningham, a forensic documents examiner, who testified that the writing on the sketches was "positively" Ng's handwriting.

In one drawing, according to testimony, Ng announces dinner is ready as Lake is depicted whipping one of their alleged female victims.

In another drawing, Ng portrays himself in a cell at San Quentin awaiting his death sentence. On the walls of his imaginary cell, Ng, a former Marine, is surrounded by portraits of his alleged victims and by scrawled chants he reportedly learned while in the military, including "No kill, no thrill."

The defense did not dispute that Ng made the drawings, but Kelley attempted to discredit Laberge's deposition by pointing out that the Canadian was a repeat criminal with a long rap sheet who received $36,000 from the Canadian government's witness protection program.

Ng's trial, which took seven years to start after his extradition in 1991, represents one of the longest and most expensive murder cases in state history. But the speedy prosecution indicates that the trial could by much shorter than the nine to 12 months originally estimated.

Sharon Sellitto, 49, whose brother Paul Cosner was among Ng's alleged victims, said she was pleased with the pace.

"I hope the defense will cut their time as well," said Sellitto, of Columbus, Ohio, who traveled to Orange County to follow the trial.

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