The Associated Press, April 21, 1999

Charles Ng's Father: I Beat Him

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) -- The father of Charles Ng choked back tears as he confessed to a jury that he beat his son to make him a better person but instead produced a serial killer.

"I tried to bring him up right," Kenneth Ng said Tuesday in Chinese-accented English. "Unfortunately, I use the wrong way. I think this is normal. But now I know how wrong I am."

He came from Hong Kong to help defense lawyers try to save his son from the death penalty. Jurors also could recommend life in prison without possibility of parole.

Charles Ng, 38, a Hong Kong emigre, was convicted of participating in 11 killings in Northern California during 1984-85 engineered by his survivalist friend, Leonard Lake, who committed suicide.

His mother was scheduled as the last defense witness today in the penalty phase of her son's trial.

Defense lawyers have presented evidence that Ng's harsh upbringing made him a dependent personality who sought approval from a dominating figure such as Lake.

Kenneth Ng described how when Charles failed to do his schoolwork, "Sometimes I tie his hands and I beat him really hard. ... Now I look back and maybe this not the way to teach children."

He choked back tears at times, and three jurors and an alternated dabbed their eyes with tissues.

The elder Ng said his goal was to see that his children got the education he did not have.

"I must say I didn't give them much freedom,"he said. "We were brought up the hard way and I thought that was the right way to bring up my babies."

Charles Ng occasionally looked at his father but showed no emotions.

Outside court, Lola Stapley, mother of victim Scott Stapley, said she was moved by the father's testimony.

"My heart bleeds for him, absolutely bleeds for him," said Mrs. Stapley. "But Charles has to take responsibility for his actions."

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