By Kim Murphy
4:20 PM EDT, May 10, 2013
SEATTLE—Colton Harris-Moore, the serial burglar who led authorities on a chase through several states and three countries as the “Barefoot Bandit,” pleaded guilty to the last of the charges against him this week, but he would like the public to know he is not discouraged by the seven-year prison term he’s serving.
“I am working with amazing people, and I will have a beautiful life,” Harris-Moore said in a handwritten note released by his lawyers.
“If there is any truth I’ve learned, it is that absolutely anything is possible,” he wrote. “When this is over and I regain my freedom, I will bring everything I am working towards into reality.”
Harris-Moore, 22, was supposed to be out of the limelight when he was sentenced more than a year ago for his multi-state crime spree, in which he admitted stealing planes, boats, cars and food as he fled one step ahead of the law across the Pacific Northwest, and eventually further east and into the Bahamas, where he was finally captured.
He was back in court this week in Mount Vernon, Wash., though, after Skagit County’s prosecutor, unwilling to go along with the earlier multi-jurisdiction plea deal, insisted on holding him to account on crimes committed there. Those included a charge of breaking into the Anacortes Airport in 2010, stealing a plane and flying it to nearby Orcas Island.
When it turned out that Harris-Moore had already pleaded guilty to the plane theft in the earlier deal, he entered a guilty plea this week solely to the burglary charge, earning a three-month sentence that won’t extend his original prison term.
The hand-written note, attorney Lance Rosen said, was prepared to read to Superior Court Michael Rickert at the end of Wednesday’s hearing, but by that time, Harris-Moore had already missed his chance to speak in court.
“He asked me to release his statement today on his behalf to offer a public expression of his gratitude for the kindnesses and support he has received from so many good people,” Rosen said in a statement. “He has been amazed and inspired.”
Rosen has helped negotiate a movie deal about Harris-Moore, whose main criminal defense lawyer, John Henry Browne, has said was the victim of a horrendous childhood who began hiding in the woods from abusive parents and stealing to obtain food.
His upbringing was “worse than a dog’s,” Browne told the court last year.
In his letter, Harris-Moore made it clear he was determined to put his criminal past behind him.
“The past is absolutely separate from the future,” he wrote. “The past holds experiences and lessons I’ll learn from for the rest of my life, but my future is precisely what I make it.”
This week’s court hearing did have an air of finality to it, according to the Associated Press, which covered the proceedings.
“Hopefully, this is the last page and last chapter in the Colton Harris-Moore story,” the judge said.
Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times