Accused spy Michael Lance Walker has been moved from a Maryland jail to a federal prison closer to his Norfolk home while awaiting trial on espionage charges, a prison spokesman said.
John R. Pendleton, executive assistant to the warden at the Federal Correctional Institution in Petersburg, Va., said Walker, 22, arrived at the medium-security prison Monday. He said Walker had started working five days a week as an orderly in the prison dispensary for 11 cents an hour.
Walker is accused of giving his father, accused spy John Anthony Walker Jr., classified documents from the USS Nimitz, where the younger Walker served as a seaman until his arrest May 22. He is being held without bail until his trial, which will take place after his father's trial, set to begin Oct. 28 in Baltimore.
Walker asked to be transferred to federal prison from the Harford County Detention Center in Bel Air, Md., where he was confined to a 6-by-8-foot cell 23 hours a day. His wife, Rachel Walker, complained that her husband was going "bananas" under those conditions. She said she had made the 11-hour round trip drive to Bel Air so often that she knew the employes at rest stops along the way.
Because his trial "will not take place until the end of the year, this current incarceration is extremely difficult for him," Walker's lawyers wrote in asking for the transfer. Judge Alexander Harvey II granted the request last week.
Walker is kept in a special prison unit for inmates awaiting trial. In addition to his work, he is allowed outside his cell five hours a week for recreation, Pendleton said.
He said that when he spoke with Walker, "He didn't really comment on whether he was happy to be here. He seemed to be in good spirits and indicated he did not want to give any interviews to the news media."
John Walker, described by authorities as the mastermind of the alleged espionage ring, is being held without bond in the Montgomery County Detention Center. His brother, Arthur James Walker, convicted earlier this month of seven counts of espionage, is in jail in Virginia awaiting sentencing Oct. 15. Jerry Alfred Whitworth, a retired Navy communications specialist and friend of John Walker, is being held without bond in an undisclosed California jail until his trial Nov. 12.