The Washington Post
January 7, 1975

Hijacker, Wanted in Murder, Enjoys Cuba Life

By Jay Mathews
Washington Post Staff Writer
    A former Alexandria high school student who participated in an Arlington bank robbery and subsequent airline hijacking, leaving three people dead, says he has been going to college in Havana for more than a year land living in a hotel with room service.
    In a 78-minute telephone interview with The Washington Post, William White Graham, now 20, said he has been studying at the University of Havana since October, 1973, about a year after he arrived in Cuba on a hijacked airliner from Houston.
    Graham said he knew little of the fate of the other three local men--former Commerce Department official Charles A. Tuller and his sons, Bryce and Jonathan--who are accused with Graham in indictments here of murdering a bank teller, an Arlington policeman and a Houston airline ticket agent during the 1973 robbery and cross-country escape to Cuba.  Graham said Charles and Jonathan Tuller actually shot the three murder victims.
    "I have completely broken with them," said Graham, speaking, he said, from the telephone in the hall outside his fifth-floor hotel room.  "I don't see them.  I don't have anything to do with them.  I don't want to be associated with them.  See, I consider myself a kind of revolutionary and their actions have graphically demonstrated that they are nothing of the kind.  As a mater of fact, they are quite the opposite."
    Since Graham arrived in Havana he has worked on a volunteer construction crew building an apartment house in the Havana suburbs, and enrolled in college where he is studying languages and history and is free to go swimming on weekends.
    Arlington Police Lt. Walter L. Hughes said he had been told that the three Tullers and Graham were released from some form of Cuban detention about three months after their arrival and that the Tullers were also living and working in Havana.  Graham and the Tullers have been in communication with their families in the United States by telephone and letter, several of Graham's relatives said.
    Charles Tuller's former wife, Edith, according to one account, had spoken to her sons and said "the boys are doing fine."  There was no further word on Tuller, 51, once a $26,000-a-year federal government executive, other than a report reaching Graham that he had been hospitalized last year after a heart attack.
    During the interview, Graham told how the group fled after the abortive Arlington bank robbery Oct. 25, 1972, and--despite brushes with police--drove 1,500 miles without detection to Houston where they hijacked an Eastern Air Lines jet four days later.
    The disclosures by Graham, his  family and the Arlington police are the first to be made about the fate of the four skyjackers since The Cuban government said  then that they had been arrested and that their case was "under investigation."  The jetliner takeover by Graham and the Tullers on Oct. 29, 1972, was the second-to-last successful hijacking from the United States to Cuba before the signing of an antihijacking agreement between the two countries in February, 1973. The last involved a Southern Airways jet and occurred two weeks later.  Since the agreement there has been only one known hijacking to Cuba, that involving a small private plane forced from Tampa to Havana last month.
    Although Cuba and the United States agreed, with some exceptions to prosecute or extradite persons guilty of hijacking airplanes or ships after the agreement was signed, the Cubans "made it clear they were not in favor of retroactive agreement to return the people who were already there," a U.S. State Department official said.
    Graham said he missed his family and friends and wanted to come back to the United States.  But, he said, the only way he could do that was "under a general amnesty, and that's impossible."
    Graham said he had considered returning to the United States under cover to become a revolutionary commando.  He said he and the Tullers had planned the bank robbery in the first place to finance a revolutionary commando organization in the United States.
    "I miss being in the struggle, physically," he said of his life in Communist Cuba, "I miss being directly in the struggle."
    Graham confirmed an earlier account by a young friend of the Tullers that the group had planned the bank robbery for months, going on camping trips to practice with firearms and sending Bryce Tuller and Graham into the army to learn about weapons, first aid, and auto mechanics.
    The bank to be robbed was the Crystal City branch of the Arlington Trust Co.  Slain in the botched attempted, which was cut short before the robbers could grab any money, were bank manager Harry J. (Bud) Candee, 33, and Officer Israel P. (Speedy) Gonzalez, 27.  The ticket agent shot to death in the Houston airport in the Oct. 29 hijacking was Stanley Hubbard, 34.
    Graham said he broke off with the Tullers in part because of the killings of Candee and Hubbard, who were both unarmed.  "It was overkill," he said.  "Revolutionaries aren't murderers."
    But the shooting of Gonzalez, who managed to wound Bryce Tuller in both hands before he died, "was self defense," Graham said.  "All revolutionaries would accept that...All militants have formed the clear conception of who the enemy is and against whom they must use their arms."
    Although Gonzalez' wife appealed to both the United Nations Cuban delegation and Cuban Premier Fidel Castro for action against the killers of her Cuban-born husband, Graham said Cuban officials never mentioned Gonzalez' nationality to them.
    "I thought he was a Chicano," Graham said.  "If he was Cuban-born and wearing the midnight blue policeman's uniform and a badge and a gun, he was a gusano."  (Gusano is the Cuban term for counter-revolutionary worm.)
    Graham said he had also broken with the Tullers because he concluded after the hijacking that Charles Tuller, who had been under psychiatric care for several years, was mentally imbalanced.  "He went into wild rages" after arriving in Havana, Graham said.  "He never showed this before."
    Graham's relatives said he has indicated he and the Tullers were closely supervised and questioned intensely for the first three months of their stay in Cuba.  Graham, however, declined to say anything about his first few months in Cuba other than that he was at an "improcessing" center.
    He declined to say whether he or the Tullers had been in jail or prison.  He said Bryce Tuller, now 21, was rushed to a hospital when they arrived for treatment of his wounds.
    After three months, Graham said he went to work in a voluntary "microbrigade," a construction crew of 30 to 40 men building an apartment house in the Havana suburbs.  After the building was completed, he enrolled at the University of Havana to study Spanish.
    This week, Graham said, the university was in the midst of exams.  He was preparing for tests in Spanish grammar, Spanish literature, Latin, Cuban history and Spanish history.
    During less busy times, Graham said, he is free to go to the beaches east and west of Havana or swim in the university pool.  The only restriction on foreigners that he mentioned was prohibition on service in the Cuban military.
    Graham's relatives said later he and other foreigners cannot buy clothes in ordinary Cuban shops and must go to special diplomatic commissaries or have relatives send clothing.
    The Post telephoned Graham Sunday afternoon, using a number provided by his father who now lives in New Brighton, Minn.  After a two-hour wait while an international operator placed the call, Graham answered and agreed to be interviewed and answer personal questions that established his identify.
    State Department and FBI spokesmen said they could provide no specific information on the whereabouts and activities of Graham and the Tullers.
    One State Department official said it was unusual to hear of an American hijacker at Havana University, but Graham said he had met others.