My last Blog entry about Palmyra Island also known as Palmyra Atoll was written on September 15th, 2011. In case you missed it, here’s the link…
Arriving at Mary’s home in Murphys, California on October 11th, I found my copy of Palmyra: The True Story of an Island Tragedy written by Wesley Walker…the man convicted of the murder…waiting for me. All 895, 6×9, pages of it. I immediately started reading the book and only yesterday completed it. For the record…I thought I would record my impressions of his book.
My very first impression at the start of reading the book was…unless you had read the book written by Vincent Bugliosi and Bruce Henderson…And The Sea Will Tell…you would be hard-pressed to tell what this book was about.
Facing a life in prison sentence he decided to try his hand at writing. He had already written three fiction novels…when on page 419 in his book Walker writes…
“Then I read the great hoax of a book by two sleaze-artists (meaning Bugliosi and Henderson) of a different order, allowing the full import of the insult to my intelligence to sink in. Overflowing with self-righteous anger, I spent the next three years transferring furious words to some 2500 pages of a reply. My trial alone covered 820 pages.” Then an incident occurred which caused him to think “Let’s settle the hash of those clowns, finish the unfinished business of the past. We’re near our rocking chairs on the front porch and we need tranquil minds to enjoy the view. And so I returned for a last visit, to relive it all, retell it yet again. To remember.” That’s when he sat down to write what became his book…Palmyra: The True Story of an Island Tragedy.
As I started to read….another immediate impression was he was far more literate than I had imagined him to be. All my previous impressions of Wesley Walker came from one source…Vincent Bugliosi and Bruce Henderson’s book…And The Sea Will Tell. They painted him as a low-life con artist.
The book was easy to read and very interesting. I found I enjoyed his writing style and really started to like the guy.
An interesting aside…during a period of time when he was an escaped felon…he was arrested at the Torch Lite Motel on Fourth Avenue in Yuma, Arizona. That motel is about one block from where I park the motorhome while in Yuma…at the American Legion. I have actually walked through the parking lot of that motel.
He spends lots of pages describing his life and lifestyles. For some period of time he was a sophisticated marijuana farmer. He seemed to have a really laid-back attitude and as I read I pictured him with the face of Willie Nelson.
Here’s a 1974 photo of Walker the Honolulu Star-Bulletin…
Here are some other interesting items from his book…
Page 294 and 295…
“Lawyers are the ones who always win, whether or not they win or lose cases. Unfortunately, poor people do not have the luxury of being permitted to make decisions about the quality of counsel, whether to consider fees or reputation. In our system, the judge has the prerogative of choosing you lawyer for you. The best lawyers simply do not appear on judge’s lists of lawyers to be appointed. Only the names of young and desperate lawyers are on the judge’s lists, and if they remain there long, it’s a sure sign they are not in demand. It’s the hack lawyers last refuge before chasing ambulances or going on welfare and drink. And thus, my lawyer Earle Partington was appointed. Partington could have done better by learning a new trade and doing honest work for a living.”
“Although I had long known it on some vague level never quite verbalized, later, when I had all the time in the world to contemplate the basic questions that would torture me, I would come to the firm conclusion that there was a vast difference between justice for the poor and for those who could afford it.”
After he is found guilty, the Federal Marshall who had been his guard all during the trial said to Walker…”If you ask me, your lawyers were the best thing the prosecution had going.”
Walker spent 22 years in prison. He had lots of time to think about everything in his life. He does an excellent job telling us about his life. He does a particularly good job describing what life is like as a fugitive running from the law as well what life is like as a prisoner in a maximum security prison. He also reviews every flaw in his trial and goes on to tell…in his words…what really happened at Palmyra.
What really happened at Palmyra..according to Walker? I’m not telling. I wouldn’t want to spoil your reading of this book! 🙂
I really enjoyed his book and it will go into my “books to be re-read” box. It’s a really good book if you enjoy this kind of reading.
I have no affiliation with the publisher. Here’s the link I used to order the book…
All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2011
For more information about my three books, click this link:
People forget,he killed two innocent people!!
I’d love to read his book, and one thing is for sure – this guy really knows the abomination known as the criminal justice system.
After “And the sea will tell” by Bugliosi-Henderson and “Final Argument … ” by Bucy I am reading the Walker book. I am surprised by his writing skills and his attitude. I don’t forget his crimes and his outlaw life, but he looks truthful in his storytelling. I don’t know If I can believe his explanation for Mac and Muff deaths (explanation that I have not read yet) but sure he was a complex character and not the cardboard lowlife villain as painted in Henderson and Bucy books.