- And the Sea Will Tell
"And the Sea Will Tell" (ISBN 0-393-02919-0) is a
true crimebook by Vincent Bugliosiand Bruce B. Henderson. It recounts a double murder on Palmyra Atolland the subsequent arrest and trial of the suspected perpetrators. It was published in 1991 and adapted into a television mini-seriesstarring James Brolin, Rachel Wardand Deidre Hallthat same year.
In 1974, a yachting couple from
San Diego, California, Malcolm "Mac" Graham III, 43, and Eleanor LaVerne ("Muff") Graham, 41, sailed to Palmyra – 1200 miles south of Honolulu – hoping to find it deserted and to pass an idyllic year or more there. The Grahams overcame their disappointment at finding other "yachties" already on Palmyra and stayed.
Also on Palmyra were Duane ("Buck") Walker (now known as Wesley G. Walker, the name he uses as a federal inmate) and Stephanie Stearns (known as "Jennifer Jenkins" in the book), who had sailed there together from
Hawaii. Walker was an ex-convict fleeing the law for life on the "Iola", a deteriorating, patched-together wooden sloop. In contrast, the Grahams' ship, the "Sea Wind", was a beautifully finished, impeccably outfitted ketch, with a machine shop equipped with a lathe and acetylene welding torch. The Grahams had brought more than a year's supply of food, but Walker and Stearns quickly consumed their own meager supplies. They were forced to plan a voyage in the rickety "Iola" against prevailing winds and currents to Fanning on Tabuaeran, a nearby atoll in Kiribati, to restock—a voyage that was somewhere between difficult and impossible without a working auxiliary engine.
According to Stearns, the Grahams disappeared sometime between
August 28and August 30, 1974, and the young couple found the Grahams' Zodiac dinghy upside down. On September 11, 1974, after days of searching and waiting for the Grahams to return to their boat, Stearns said she and Walker scuttled the "Iola" and sailed for Hawaii on the "Sea Wind". Once in Hawaii, the couple had the "Sea Wind" repainted and renamed it, which according to boating superstition brings bad luck. This act aroused suspicion; acquaintances of the Grahams easily recognized the distinctive "Sea Wind" despite its new paint job. Walker and Stearns were arrested for the theft of the "Sea Wind", for which both were tried, convicted, and served time.
Early one morning in 1981, another visitor to Palmyra, sailor Sharon Jordan, from Johannesburg, found Muff Graham's skull and other skeletal remains in the surf near a large metal container. The remains showed signs of dismemberment and burning (possibly by Mac Graham's acetylene welding torch), and the body appeared to have been concealed underwater in the container. Mac Graham's remains have yet to be found.
Trial and punishment
Buck Walker was tried and convicted of Muff Graham's murder. Walker was being held at
United States Penitentiary, Victorville, in California. He was released on parole in September 2007 at the age of 69, after serving 22 years of a life sentence [ [http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2007/Sep/03/ln/hawaii709030337.html "Honolulu Advertiser"] ] .
Stearns was tried separately in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of Californiain San Francisco, after her defense lawyer ( Vincent Bugliosi, a co-author of the book) persuaded the court that publicity about the murders in Hawaii prevented the empaneling of an impartial jury there. Stearns was acquitted of the murder of Muff Graham and resumed her life in California in the telecommunications industry.
List of people who have disappeared(Malcom "Mac" Graham)
* [http://palmyramystery.com palmyramystery.com - Wesley Walker's website]
* [http://strangemag.com/palmyra.html The Curse of Palmyra Island]
* [http://starbulletin.com/2006/07/01/news/whatever.html Palmyra killer’s parole status unclear]
* [http://palmyragazette.org/ Buck (Wesley) Walker writes his account; Palmyra: The True Story of an Island Tragedy]
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