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Convicted Spy Planned Escape Twice, Sources Say

November 4, 1986

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Convicted spymaster John A. Walker Jr. was moved from a rural Maryland jail to a federal penitentiary in Pennsylvania after authorities discovered he was plotting an escape, a newspaper reported today.

The alleged escape plan was described by anonymous government sources quoted in The Los Angeles Times.

They said investigators have evidence Walker spoke of feigning illness and escaping. He was transferred to the Lewisburg prison last week under heavy security, they said.

The sources said Walker discussed the escape plan in Cecil County Jail in Elkton, Md., but refused to say to whom he was talking.

Walker is scheduled for sentencing Thursday in federal court in Baltimore, along with his son, Michael, a former Navy sailor.

Under a plea bargain with prosecutors, Walker is to be sentenced to life in prison, which could make him eligible for parole in 10 years. His son is to get a 25-year term, which means he could be paroled in a little more than eight years.

The Justice Department revealed last week it didn’t plan to seek stiffer sentences, despite suspicion that the elder Walker hasn’t kept his part of the bargain by telling all he knows about his admitted spying for the Soviet Union.

The spy ring operated for 17 years, selling Navy secrets to the Soviets and causing what authorities have described as extensive damage to national security.

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