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Friday
Jan272012

'Barefoot Bandit' Gets Maximum Sentence

Hemera/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- A federal judge in Seattle sentenced the "Barefoot Bandit" to the maximum six and a half years in prison for a string of thefts and burglaries after the 20-year-old bragged to friends in emails from jail that prosecutors were "fools" and he'd emerge "unscathed."

Judge Richard A. Jones on Friday also sentenced Colton Harris-Moore, who pled guilty to 33 state and seven federal felony charges during his two years as a fugitive, to three years of probation. The federal sentence is to run concurrently with a seven-year state sentence, as part of a plea agreement. The maximum federal sentence was six and a half years, as negotiated by his attorneys.

The attorneys for the "Barefoot Bandit" said the emails disclosed this week in which he criticized police and prosecutors, were taken out of context and it was "not unusual" for the young man to be upset with authorities.

Harris-Moore pled guilty to charges of state theft and burglary in December after his two-year crime spree, including the thefts of two airplanes and a boat, as well as a string of break-ins.

Prosecutors disclosed over a year's worth of emails on Tuesday ahead of his sentencing in U.S. District Court in Seattle. In the emails, Harris-Moore called the Island County sheriff "king swine," and referred to prosecutors as "fools" and reporters as "vermins." He also wrote to one friend, "I won't be out tomorrow but I have no doubt I will emerge unscathed back on track."

His attorney, Emma Scanlan, said prosecutors provided thousands of pages of emails and correspondence over the last 18 months, some of which were out of context and truncated. In a response filed on Thursday, Harris-Moore's defense states that the emails do not show a lack of remorse previously displayed. Harris-Moore wrote the state and federal judges presiding over his cases a lengthy six-page email in December, expressing his regret to victims and detailing his troubled past.

The defense said in the court filing that he was provisionally diagnosed with "Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder and is extraordinarily suggestible."

"When you have someone diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and shows he will be grandiose, he will have limited ability to understand the consequences of what he is saying," Scanlan told ABC News.

Harris-Moore is known as the "Barefoot Bandit" for allegedly not wearing shoes during some crimes. Officials say he did wear shoes most of the time, though authorities often name bandits with monikers so they are more easily identifiable.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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