Barefoot Bandit Udpate: Movie or Book Deal Could Aid in Plea Deal, Says Lawyer
SEATTLE (CBS/AP) The attorney for the teenager known as the "Barefoot Bandit" said the nifty 19-year-old is "reluctant to make a dime" off his alleged two-year cross-country crime spree, but claims he is working with prosecutors to negotiate a plea deal that could involve using profits from a potential movie or book deal to compensate the victims.
Colton Harris-Moore pleaded not guilty to federal charges that include interstate transportation of stolen aircraft and being a fugitive in possession of a firearm in Seattle Thursday.
His lawyer, John Henry Browne, said the teen is opposed to profiting off his Hollywood-esque crime spree that totaled to more than 70 crimes across nine states. However, when Browne proposed the idea that money from a movie or book deals could be used to pay back victims and incidentally win Harris-Moore a more favorable plea deal, with less time behind bars, he said, "that changed his mind a little bit."
Harris-Moore, a self-taught pilot, is accused of leading authorities on several chases in stolen boats, cars and small planes after allegedly fleeing from a halfway house south of Seattle in 2008. His stunts came to a halt four months ago when police finally caught up with him after he allegedly stole a plane in Indiana, crash landed it in the Bahamas and was ultimately captured by Bahamian officials following a high-speed boat chase.
Though a possible plea deal by Harris-Moore could work in his favor, it would require the consent of prosecutors in other jurisdictions. Some prosecutors, including Greg Banks, a prosecutor in Island County where Harris-Moore was first arrested at age 12, have indicated they want the teen to answer for local crimes in their courts, rather than in one inclusive plea in federal court.
Four of the five counts against Harris-Moore carry maximum sentences of 10 years in prison, according to Browne.
Browne said Harris-Moore remains in solitary confinement at the Federal Detention Center south of Seattle, where he has been illustrating airplane designs and reading about aircraft and nature.
"He'd rather stay where he is, which is rather unusual," said Browne.
Harris-Moore earned the moniker "Barefoot Bandit" by reportedly committing some crimes in his bare feet, and he even fostered a small community on Facebook that seemed to idealize the wayward young man as some sort of folk hero.
A trial date was scheduled for Jan. 18.
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