Barefoot Bandit: “Anyone Else Would Have Died”


In his courtroom appearances, Colton Harris-Moore, the late-teen who stole five airplanes as part of a two-year crime spree, appeared to be remorseful, but he saved his self-praise and color commentary for later, according to new reports. E-mails Harris-Moore sent from prison were monitored by authorities and detailed in a memorandum filed by federal prosecutors ahead of a hearing scheduled to take place in a Seattle court, Friday, Jan. 27. According to that document, the young man referred to police and the prosecution as “fools” and “swine,” among more colorful language. Harris-Moore’s attorney argues the clips are representative of isolated emotions cherry-picked from personal correspondence to negatively impact her client. As released, the e-mails appear to show the young thief had a distinctly more positive opinion of himself and, specifically, of his piloting abilities.

Writing about the aircraft thefts, Harris-Moore said, “I, as a teenager with no formal education in aviation was not only able to pilot multiple aircraft, fly one over a thousand miles to the Bahamas.” He goes on to say that four out of five of those aircraft were “flown through inclement weather or night time — or both, again, without any formal training.” Says Harris-Moore, “I am confident that anyone else would have died.” The young man’s attorney, Emma Scanlon, said prosecutors picked the statements from 1,500 pages of e-mails and phone transcripts that she says mostly show her client’s remorse. “They seem to have been unable to find an e-mail that shows lack of remorse toward his victims,” Scanlon said. Harris-Moore suffers from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, according to his attorney. Scanlon said the condition makes her client impulsive and while he may be angry with prosecutors and a sheriff, “he’s working through his feelings about what’s going on,” the L.A. reported. Harris-Moore’s upbringing, which was far less than ideal, has also been explored in his defense. Scanlon is hoping for a 70-month sentence for Harris-Moore (as opposed to the 78-month term sought by prosecutors) plus $1.4 million in restitution for victims. That amount could be paid from the movie deal Harris-Moore reportedly signed in December with 20th Century Fox.