Colton Harris-Moore stands in front of Judge Vickie I. Churchill in Island County Superior Court to enter guilty pleas to 15 charges and an Alford Plea to one firearms charge in Coupeville on Dec. 16, 2011. (Mark Mulligan / Herald file)

Colton Harris-Moore stands in front of Judge Vickie I. Churchill in Island County Superior Court to enter guilty pleas to 15 charges and an Alford Plea to one firearms charge in Coupeville on Dec. 16, 2011. (Mark Mulligan / Herald file)

U.S. Attorney opposes early release for ‘Barefoot Bandit’

Colton Harris-Moore wants out of supervision so he can pursue public speaking and see friends.

SEATTLE — Seattle U.S. Attorney Brian Moran doesn’t think that Colton Harris-Moore should get out of his supervision early.

Harris-Moore earned the moniker “The Barefoot Bandit” about a decade ago when he went on a prolific crime spree, committing 67 state and federal crimes in a two-year span. He left a wake of stolen cars and planes in his path, eventually crashing a Cessna 400 in the Bahamas, where he was finally arrested in July 2010.

Harris-Moore, who grew up on Camano Island, was sentenced to more than six years in prison in January 2012 and was ordered to pay $1.3 million in restitution.

Now 28, he has just five months of supervised release left.

Saying that he’s turned his life around, he wrote U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones in April asking that the remainder of his sentence be dropped.

In an opposition brief filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle, Moran disagreed. He wrote that Harris-Moore has done well in supervision, and has a promising future, but simply following the rules of probation isn’t enough.

“It seems that Harris-Moore has simply grown tired of supervision,” Moran wrote. “That is understandable, but hardly a reason for early termination.”

A hearing regarding the motion for early termination has yet to be scheduled.

Harris-Moore said the supervision has prevented him from a lucrative career in public speaking. He could earn $10,000 per speech “at the low end,” he wrote, which could go toward paying restitution.

Harris-Moore also wrote in court papers that he couldn’t see friends in far-flung countries such as France, China or South Korea.

Moran called the claims “baseless speculation.”

He said there’s no evidence that any such travel has been denied. Harris-Moore never asked his probation officer if he could travel for a speaking engagement, Moran wrote.

Apparently, the probation officer “supported the idea in principle” in an interview with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He reportedly said he would be open to any requests to travel as a paid speaker.

Furthermore, Moran wrote, Harris-Moore failed to identify a single case in which he had to turn down a speaking engagement.

Moran was dubious that probation really restricted Harris-Moore from traveling, as it would only take a couple of weeks to approve a request. If people were willing to pay so much for an appearance, it’s likely they would book an event much further in advance.

Likewise, Moran wrote, there’s no reason to believe Harris-Moore couldn’t plan an international trip to see friends ahead of time.

“No doubt many people on supervision would prefer to skip the last few months of their term,” Moran wrote. “But the law — and common sense — say that there should actually be a reason to terminate supervision.”

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.


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Colton Harris-Moore enters Island County Superior Court to enter a guilty plea to 15 charges and an Alford Plea to one firearms charge in Coupeville on Dec. 16, 2011. (Mark Mulligan / Herald file)

Colton Harris-Moore enters Island County Superior Court to enter a guilty plea to 15 charges and an Alford Plea to one firearms charge in Coupeville on Dec. 16, 2011. (Mark Mulligan / Herald file)

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