CLAYTON, GA. — Details of underground bunkers, end-of-world fears and terrified victims emerged today at a bond hearing for a Rabun County man charged with rape.
The man, Albert Tony Walker, 62, was described as the head of an isolated religious organization called The Church. Albert Tony Walker claims to be the ‘Third Testament’
Walker was denied bond at the hearing in the Mountain Judicial Circuit Superior Court in Rabun County. Superior Court Judge James Cornwell said Walker was a flight risk and could intimidate witnesses.
Walker and his wife, Dalene, 50, are charged with repeatedly raping two women at the Walkers’ home in Rabun County in the 1990s.
Walker sees himself as a self-proclaimed prophet who would die in Israel if he were prosecuted, Crowder said.
Crowder also said members of Tony Walker’s family had threatened the two women victims through e-mail and hate mail since the arrest in September.
Investigators have said Walker called himself The Third Testament and used repeated beatings to control his followers. They believe up to 50 people have lived in the Plum Orchard Road home since the Walkers moved there in the early 1990s.
“He told Megan Miller with the … (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) that he has died before, and when he woke up he could see the future,” Crowder said. “He has told the victims and cooperating witnesses in this case that he admires (David) Koresh and Jim Jones and their mass killings and suicides.”
Walker allegedly saw himself as a prophet, and drew upon some Christian beliefs.
“He saw himself as the Third Testament,” said Assistant District Attorney Penny Crowder, of the Mountain Judicial District in Rabun County. “There was God and Jesus, and then there is him.”
Authorities said devotees of “The Church,” as the religious organization was called, lived off Plum Orchard Road in a primary residence and several smaller outbuildings. They eschewed any reliance on the outside world, even public utilities. They grew produce, maintained livestock and used their own primitive light and heat sources, said Capt. Gerald Johnson of the Rabun County Sheriff’s Office.
Crowder said Walker admired other cult leaders like David Koresh because of the control he had over followers at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. Walker ruled his own flock with fear and physical violence, Crowder said. Followers were reportedly directed to participate in “end-of-days” drills in which they would hide in underground shelters whenever someone – particularly government officials — came onto the property.
“He did have control over these people and they were fearful of what he would do,” Crowder said. “He had told these women that they couldn’t hide from him because God would always tell him where they were.”
The victims told investigators Walker dictated what relationships and marriages were formed among his followers, and that some childbirths within the sect were never recorded. Walker is rumored to have fathered 17 children by six different women.
Tony Walker’s family sat in the courtroom Tuesday, filling a row of spectator seats. His daughter and son-in-law testified that they believed he was not a flight risk. His daughter, Amber Honest Liebermann, described the bunker as a steel trailer that was for safety.
“At that time, we believed the end of days could come,” she said in her testimony.
The women alleged to have been Walker’s victims and their families were also present.
Dalene Walker was released from custody last week on $30,000 bail. Tony Walker remains in custody in the Rabun County Detention Center.