The glamorous trial has come to an end and â€œBarefoot Banditâ€ Colton Harris-Moore has been sentenced to six and a half years in jail for his two-year long spree of thefts and break ins.
Harris-Moore spent two years perplexing the authorities of the United States with his elusive trail of crime. All that ended in 2010 when he was finally caught and put on trial. Since then he has spent 18 months in jail and the culmination of the trial was his six and a healf years of sentence.
During the infamous two years of his life, 20-year-old Harris-Moore flew a plane stolen in Washington state to the San Juan Islands and then stole a pistol in British Columbia. He took a plane from Idaho to Washington state where he stole a plane to go to Oregon. From Oregon he stole another plane to fly to Indiana went on to the Bahamas, where was arrested.
Harris-Moore is called the â€œBarefoot Banditâ€ because he stayed bare foot while committing a number of these crimes. His daring flights and elusive personality won him a number of fans.
This Friday, after the sentence, the â€œBarefoot Banditâ€ was a changed man and this showed in his words and manner. While on trial in the 18 months he became quite popular as the one who stole a plane and flew it without any previous pilot training. Then his cocky attitude and rude remarks to the authorities made him catch the attention of people and he became quite well-known.
This Friday the brashness and swagger disappeared as U.S. District Judge Richard Jones imposed the sentence, which will be served concurrently with state prison time.
Harris-Moore said, â€œWhat I did could be called daring, but it is no stretch of the imagination to say that am lucky to be alive … absolutely lucky. I should have died years ago.â€
Though the defense expects him to serve about four more years of prison sentence, but the decision will rest on the Prison authorities.
The fans of Harris-Moore had created a fan page for him which was followed by thousands of fans and admirers around the world. When the judge asked Harris-Moore to share his advice with those thousands, he humbly replied that â€œhis flights in stolen planes with no formal flight training â€” though the realization of a lifelong dream â€” were in fact frighteningâ€.
Harris-Moore spoke for the younger people, â€œI would say to younger people they should focus on their education, which is what I am doing right now. I want to start a company. I want to make a difference in this world, legally.â€
Harris-Moore said about his experience as the daring thief, â€œI would say that the things I did â€” some, I think, thought was perhaps cool â€” were extremely dangerous and terrifying. It wasn’t as if I just jumped in a plane barefoot and started flying around. I feared for my life in those situations.â€
Defense lawyers took the stand that foolhardy approach of the 6-foot-5 youth was because of a nightmarish childhood. In his childhood he was made to break into nearby homes to find food and clothing as a result of his mother’s alcoholism, abuse and neglect. Defense lawyer John Henry Browne said that the upbringing of Harris-Moore â€œworse than a dog’sâ€.
Browne said when Harris-Moore was approaching the lectern, â€œYou’re about to hear now from a young person whose first memory is being told that everybody’s better off if he’d have been born dead.â€
Prosecutors claimed that the 6.5 years o sentence was the lenient side of the deserved sentence keeping in mind Harris-Moore’s rough childhood. His crimes resulted in $1.3 million in losses to victims.
He went on to address his victims in the court, â€œMy actions affected many people, and from a place of acceptance, humility and remorse I again apologize…. The day will come when things are made right.â€
His sentence was finally justified in the statement by assistant U.S. Atty. Darwin Roberts, the lead federal prosecutor on the case, who said at a news conference, â€œHaving a bad childhood and dreaming of flying airplanes is not a reason to break into a bank and try to open a vault. There are many, many kids across the country that have many of the disadvantages that Mr. Harris-Moore had without resorting to a life of crime.â€