Fugitive, 82, granted parole

July 29, 2008|By Julie Bykowicz

One of Maryland's longest-missing fugitives, who was recaptured in February after 43 years on the run, was granted parole yesterday. But Willie Parker, 82, ailing and in a wheelchair, isn't going anywhere. Now he has to contend with federal authorities who think he might owe them prison time, too.

Parker absconded from an Eastern Shore boot camp in 1965, where he was serving time in a federal marijuana possession case and for violating state probation on a robbery case from years earlier. Saying he still owes them 29 years, Maryland officials tracked Parker to Clinton, N.C., this year.

A federal detainer in Parker's old file indicates they are after him for failing to serve out the federal portion of his sentence. Until federal authorities decide what to do with him, Parker will remain behind bars at Western Correction Institution in Cumberland, an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant facility.

Before U.S. marshals arrested him in February, Parker had been living with an elderly roommate in rural North Carolina.

"I wasn't hiding from anybody," Parker said in a jailhouse interview this year.

David R. Blumberg, chairman of the Maryland Parole Commission, said a commissioner signed off on Parker's parole yesterday, after a hearing officer interviewed Parker on Friday. The hearing officer noted the age of the case and the lack of new infractions in the report, Blumberg said.

If federal authorities do not want Parker, Maryland will have to ask North Carolina, where his friends and family live, to take him back, Blumberg said.

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