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May 10, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Barefoot Bandit’s guilty plea lost

Lynsi Burton
Skagit Valley Herald (MCT REGIONAL NEWS)

MOUNT VERNON — The man known as the “Barefoot Bandit” may have to appear in Skagit County Superior Court once again after his guilty plea statement turned up missing.

Colton Harris-Moore, who eluded law enforcement during his two-year stint stealing airplanes, vehicles and boats, pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree burglary for breaking into an Anacortes Airport hangar and stealing a plane in 2010. The ensuing airplane theft was resolved in a San Juan County charge in 2011 because he landed the airplane on Orcas Island.

Harris-Moore ended up in Skagit County court after prosecutors in February refiled charges against him for stealing the Anacortes plane. Prosecutors initially dropped out of plea negotiations for Harris-Moore’s crimes in other counties in 2011.

He was sentenced Wednesday to three months in jail, which were tacked onto his seven-year sentence for 48 other convictions in San Juan, Island and Snohomish counties and federal courts.

Because Harris-Moore was granted credit for time already served in Skagit County Jail, he was scheduled to be transferred to a state prison Tuesday to resume serving his seven-year sentence.

But that could be put off if this week’s missing paperwork issue isn’t resolved by then.

Chief Deputy Court Clerk Mavis Betts said Harris-Moore’s guilty plea document was likely tossed by accident.

Wednesday’s hearing was not scheduled as a guilty plea hearing, so original plea documents were not prepared.

Betts said she believes that Harris-Moore’s attorney, John Henry Browne, pulled a guilty plea document from his own files labeled “copy” and used that for Harris-Moore and the judge to sign.

Because the document read “copy” and not “original,” a staffer processing documents must have assumed there was another copy of the guilty plea and disposed of the statement, Betts said.

Now parties need to sign another guilty plea statement.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Barefoot Bandit, document lost


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