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Walker Given 2 Life Terms, Son 25 Years : Judge Says He Will Strongly Urge No Parole for Either Spy

November 06, 1986|From Times Wire Services

BALTIMORE — Spy John A. Walker was sentenced to two life terms and his sailor son was given a 25-year sentence today for selling military secrets to the Soviets for 17 years in a family-and-friend espionage ring.

The judge said he will strongly recommend no parole for either man.

Walker and his son, Michael, 23, did not look at each other during the proceedings.

"Your motive was pure greed. You were paid handsomely for your traitorous acts," U.S. District Judge Alexander Harvey sternly told John Walker, 49, a former Navy communications expert.

"You, a 20-year Navy man, have betrayed your country," Harvey said. "You do not seem to appreciate the enormity of your grave crime."

Genuine Remorse

Michael Walker's lawyer, Frank Berstein, said the younger man suffered genuine remorse for his part in the spy ring.

The son, Berstein said, "looked to (his father) for love and affection, and this man led him down the road to treason."

Harvey told Michael Walker that even though he may have been used by his father to spy while a seaman in the Navy, "you were an enlisted serviceman. Your duty was to defend your country. You chose to betray it."

Harvey handed out the sentences under an Oct. 28, 1985, plea bargain that the elder Walker has said he accepted to obtain a lighter sentence for his son.

If parole is allowed, John Walker will be eligible in 10 years; his son after eight.

'Dead Drop' in Maryland

Walker, reported to the FBI by his angry wife, was arrested May 20, 1985, after completing a "dead drop" of classified material in Maryland.

Michael Walker was arrested two days later aboard the nuclear carrier Nimitz with 15 pounds of classified documents under his bunk.

John Walker's brother, former Navy Lt. Cmdr. Arthur J. Walker, was sentenced last year to life in prison for his role in the spy ring, and John Walker's longtime Navy buddy, Jerry A. Whitworth, received a 365-year sentence for his part.

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