Trial date postponed for "barefoot bandit" suspect

By Laura Myers

SEATTLE (BestGrowthStock) – The trial date for “barefoot bandit” suspect Colton Harris-Moore, charged in a two-year spree of sometimes shoeless crimes, was pushed back six months on Tuesday as his lawyers and federal prosecutors discussed a possible plea bargain.

Harris-Moore, 19, agreed to a postponement of his trial date from January 18 to July 11 during a 35-minute hearing before U.S. District Judge Richard Jones in Seattle.

After the hearing, defense lawyer John Henry Browne said he was trying to work out a deal to consolidate the federal case against his client with charges pending in various state courts, aiming for a single prison term of four to 12 years.

“The U.S. government is being very reasonable,” he said. “We all agree we’re trying to get global resolution.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Darwin Roberts said in court that there has been some discussion “about contours of possible plea deals” but that many jurisdictions with an interest in Harris-Moore have yet to be contacted.

Browne said his client faces charges in at least five places within his home state of Washington and 15 to 20 more in other states.

Harris-Moore was accused in a five-count federal indictment last month of interstate transportation of a stolen plane, a stolen boat and a gun. He also was charged with being a fugitive in possession of a firearm and flying a plane without a pilot’s license.

The high school dropout and self-taught pilot already was identified as a suspect in a two-year wave of 80 crimes across nine U.S. states, British Columbia and the Bahamas, including five cases of stolen aircraft.

Bare footprints were left behind at the scenes of many of the burglaries and thefts, leading authorities to refer to their suspect as the barefoot bandit.

Harris-Moore had been on the run since escaping in April 2008 from a juvenile detention center. He was captured on July 11 of this year in the Bahamas, where authorities said he crash-landed a small plane he had stolen from Indiana and flown on his own for over 1,000 miles.

He was returned the following week to Seattle and has been held in federal detention without bond since then.

Browne said the baby-faced, 6-foot-5 teenager is in solitary confinement 23 hours a day and wants to remain there. “He’s a young man who likes solitude,” Browne said, adding that his client “reads a lot.”

(Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Greg McCune)

Trial date postponed for "barefoot bandit" suspect