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February 28, 2013 at 10:57 AM

‘Barefoot Bandit’ pleads not guilty to new criminal charge

Colton Harris-Moore arrives in Skagit County Superior Court in Mount Vernon, Wash., on Feb. 28, 2013, with his defense lawyer John Henry Browne. (Frank Varga / Skagit Valley Herald)

Corrected version

After spending more than a year in prison, Colton Harris-Moore was back in a courtroom this morning for his arraignment on a new criminal charge filed in Skagit County.

Harris-Moore, the so-called “Barefoot Bandit,” pleaded not guilty to a burglary charge in Skagit County Superior Court in Mount Vernon. The Skagit County Prosecutor’s Office earlier this month refiled two charges involving a break-in at an Anacortes airplane hangar in 2010 and the theft of a plane.

Harris-Moore declined to enter a plea to a second charge, first-degree theft involving the airplane, because that was already covered in his 2011 plea deal, according to his attorney, John Henry Browne.

The charges were originally filed against Harris-Moore shortly after his two-year crime spree ended with his arrest in the Bahamas in July 2010. But Skagit County prosecutors dropped the charges in 2011 as police and prosecutors from the other jurisdictions where Harris-Moore committed crimes negotiated over the charges he would face.

Skagit County Prosecutor Rich Weyrich said his office dropped the charges “to let the other counties deal with what they were dealing with” as part of the large-scale plea negotiations.

As a result, Harris-Moore pleaded guilty to more than 40 felonies, cooperated with authorities and promised the proceeds of a movie deal to pay for restitution. He was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in a Washington state prison and three years of probation on Jan. 27, 2012.

In a written statement, Weyrich said he had withdrawn from the plea negotiations and was not aware the plea deal included an alleged crime in Skagit County. Weyrich maintains said including the charge with a San Juan County case bypassed his authority.

“We believe he committed a crime in Skagit County and he should be held accountable for it,” Weyrich said last week.

Henry Browne, last week called the new charges “a horrendous waste of time.”

Trial on the burglary charge was scheduled for April 29.

Information in this post, originally published Feb. 28, 2013, has been corrected. A previous version said Colton Harris-Moore had pleaded guilty to a charge of burglary. He pleaded not guilty.

 

Comments | Topics: Burglary, Colton Harris-Moore, Skagit County

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