Palmyra killer paroled from prison
Just weeks from his 70th birthday on Sept. 18, Buck Walker was released on parole from federal prison on Tuesday after serving 22 years of a life sentence for murder in a case that inspired a best-selling novel and television miniseries.
Walker and girlfriend Stephanie Stearns were arrested in Honolulu after sailing from Palmyra Atoll in a yacht they had stolen from Malcolm "Mac" and his wife Eleanor "Muff" Graham of San Diego.
The couples met on Palmyra Atoll, 1,100 miles south of Honolulu in 1974. Walker and Stearns arrived on the leaky Iola while the Grahams came on the yacht Sea Wind.
Walker and Stearns were initially convicted of theft. Stearns served seven months of a two-year sentence and Walker served 42-months of a 10 year sentence before escaping. He was arrested later in a drug sting in Arizona.
No one knew what happened to the Grahams until Muff Graham's bones were found on Palmyra in 1981. Malcolm Graham's body was never found.
Stearns was acquitted of the murders, and her attorney, Vincent Bugliosi, wrote a book about the case, "And the Sea Will Tell," made into a 1991 TV movie starring James Brolin as Graham.
Walker, a former Big Island resident in the early 1970s, served his sentence in a prison in Victorville, Calif., near Los Angeles, under his legal name, Wesley G. Walker.
He spent a little less than the last month in a halfway house in San Francisco before his release, the prison spokeswoman said.
Officials, granting a request by Walker, released him in the Northern District of California. The specific city was not named.
An inmate normally would be released in the city where he was arrested or tried.
Walker still denies he killed the couple and wrote a self-published 895-page book telling his side of the story.