Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Christopher Boyce & Andrew Daulton Lee

The Falcon Caged

Boyce thought the same of the robberies as he did about his espionage: he expected his luck to run out eventually.  He wanted to learn how to fly a private plane. He signed up for pilot lessons in Washington state.

The plan was that Boyce would flee to Alaska and, from there, fly to an island of the Soviet Union.  While Boyce felt no regard for that country or its system, he believed he would receive a heros welcome and all the attendant honors and accolades. He would then lead a comfortable life. 

Because of his longstanding fascination with the flight of birds, Boyce learned aviation easily and enjoyed flying. 

One day, the man known as Jim Namcheck to his many friends and Tony Lester to his flight instructor, was eating in a drive-through restaurant called The Pit Stop.  He had a book about flying open on his lap. Boyce was chewing on a hamburger when he looked up and saw guns pointing at him through his car window.

Federal Marshals and Boyce, 1981
Federal Marshals and Boyce, 1981

U.S. marshals, he was told.  Youre under arrest. Drop the hamburger, another officer commanded.  His gun was pointed straight at the spys head.

Christopher Boyce did not fight.  He did not force them to kill him as he had so often vowed.  The Falcon was meek as a mouse as he surrendered. Dropping his food and book, he got out of the car and was handcuffed.  Another marshal walked over  and said, Hi, Chris.

Its been a long time since anybody called me that, a dispirited Boyce said.

The next morning, while in a Seattle prison cell, Boyce was reunited with Larry Homenick, a guard who had become his friend during the early days of his espionage arrest. Later, Homenick was one of Boyces hunters during his flight from justice.

Christopher Boyce
Christopher Boyce

You know, Larry, Boyce told him.  I had a dream every night that I was going to get caught.

Homenick confided, Chris, I had a dream every night that I wouldnt catch you.  The U.S. marshal had a copy of The Falcon and the Snowman.

Boyce autographed the book.  The salutation began, To my friend Larry.

Boyce was convicted of escaping from prison and three years were added to his forty-year stretch for espionage.  He also had new convictions for bank robbery and illegal weapons possession.

Gloria Ann White paid dearly for her friendship with Boyce.  As recorded in Flight of the Falcon, she was found...guilty of harboring an escaped prisoner, conspiring to rob banks, and two counts of bank robbery. The men who had driven the getaway cars for the Falcon during the bank heists were not prosecuted due to their cooperation with authorities.  One of them even received  a $15,000 reward.

Since his return to prison, Boyce has said he does not regret the spying that landed him there. After refusing all interview requests for several years, Boyce granted one in 1982 to the Australian version of 60 Minutes.  It took place at Leavenworth.  He agreed to talk because you are Australian journalists and because what kicked this all off was deception by my government against yours. 

Unlike many convicted spies, Boyce does not shirk from the word traitor.  He told Ray Martin, the interviewer from Australias 60 Minutes, I have no problems with the label traitor, if you qualify what its to, and I think that eventually the United States Government is going to involve the world in the next world war.  And being a traitor to that, I have absolutely no problems with that whatsoever.

Boyce acknowledged he wanted to be free.  When asked what he would do if the doors of the prison were opened, he replied, Id take off like a jack rabbit.  Martin also challenged Boyce, Could it be said that, in getting those secrets for the Russians, that in fact you had thrown into jeopardy the lives of every American man, woman and child?

They are already in jeopardy, Boyce replied.  A Third World War is inevitable.

So you dont think you added to that at all? Martin continued.

Its a hard one, Boyce allowed.

The night of the interview, two inmates assaulted Boyce. The federal Bureau of Prisons transferred him to the facility in Marion, Ill., the nations highest security prison. Boyce was placed in solitary confinement. Special guards were stationed to protect him because of the many threats to his life. Boyces food was tested for poison before serving. Like other Marion inmates, Boyce was locked in his cell at least 23 out of every 24 hours.

He decided to try his hand at writing.  Since he was a history buff, he would attempt an historical novel set in 16th century Europe.  Perhaps fantasizing about the distant past permitted a mental escape from his drab and ugly present.

During his Marion stay, Boyce consented to a second television interview, this time from 60 Minutes.  As in the previous interview, Boyce was recalcitrant, defiant, and utterly remorseless.  He would do it all again, he said, only better.

As of this writing, Andrew Daulton Lee was released on parole in 1998.

Smithfield Oregon Federal Penitentiary
Smithfield Oregon Federal Penitentiary

As of this writing, Christopher Boyce is now at the Federal Correctional Institution at Sheridan, Ore.  His projected release date is March 15, 2003.  His release destination is central California, but Boyce has applied to have it moved to northern California.

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