Barefoot Bandit makes tracks for Island County
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
November 25, 2011 · Updated 11:39 AM
The date for the so-called Barefoot Bandit to appear in Island County Superior Court has finally been set.
Colton Harris-Moore, a 20-year-old Camano Island resident, is scheduled to appear in court Friday, Dec. 16, to enter 30 guilty pleas for crimes he allegedly committed in three counties.
Under the plea bargain, the internationally famous burglar and thief could be free when he’s 26 years old, provided he behaves himself in prison.
Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks said he will ask the judge to impose a sentence of nine years and four months in prison, though Harris-Moore’s attorneys will ask for less. The sentence is based on the standard range for the most serious charge against Harris-Moore, which is first-degree burglary out of Snohomish County.
Because of a complication due to an unresolved case in juvenile court, Harris-Moore won’t start serving his state sentence until he turns 21 on March 22.
Harris-Moore has already pleaded guilty to seven federal criminal charges in U.S. District Court in Seattle, though he hasn’t been sentenced yet. Banks indicated it appears likely that the federal sentence will run concurrent, or at the same time, as the state sentence, but it will ultimately be up to the federal judge.
Banks indicated that Harris-Moore will be eligible for “good time” in prison. If he follows the rules, his sentence could be reduced by 30 percent.
The Island County Sheriff’s Office is expecting a media circus at the sentencing hearing. Detective Ed Wallace, the department’s spokesman, sent out a press release to news organizations Monday afternoon, explaining the courtroom protocol. A secondary viewing room is being set up with a live stream from the courtroom.
Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks has been brokering a plea bargain to resolve about 30 charges against Harris-Moore in Island, Snohomish and San Juan counties. He originally expected the hearing to take place last summer, but the date was continually pushed back because of difficulty finding a day when everyone involved could be in court.
Harris-Moore made international news in a crime spree that began after he escaped from a halfway house and returned to Camano Island to burglarize and steal. He evaded capture for months and then moved to other counties, where his fame grew after he allegedly stole boats and small airplanes.
Harris-Moore, who allegedly committed at least one burglary while barefoot, was finally arrested in the Bahamas in 2010. He reportedly fled the United States in a plane stolen in Indiana.
Harris-Moore agreed to sell his story to a movie company for $1.3 million, but his victims — including Island County government — will get the money under the plea deal in federal court.
Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.