SEATTLE — Colton Harris-Moore, better known as the “Barefoot Bandit,” has just been released from jail, and is now living in a halfway house in Seattle. He is on work-release and is about to start a job with a surprising employer — his attorney.
“He’s an extraordinary person,” said lawyer John Henry Browne of his new hire. Browne says that Harris-Moore will be doing low-level clerical work.
“The Bar Association, as usual, is probably not going to like what I’m doing, because I have somebody who is a convicted felon working in my office,” Browne said. “He’s not going to have access to any private information, or confidential information.”
Harris-Moore gained fame several years ago as a teenager for a crime spree that included countless thefts, including airplanes. Browne secured the young criminal less than six years of jail time, despite having faced 70 charges, spanning six states and three countries.
Browne says he has a lot of sympathy and respect for Harris-Moore and wants to help him transition back into society.
“He might have a touch of Asperger’s, a little bit, because he can focus on something and master it,” Browne said of Harris Moore’s ability to learn how to fly airplanes by simply reading the manuals. “He’d never even flown in a commercial plane."
Browne argues that the perception of Harris-Moore is wrong. His lawless ways began out of necessity, he argues, not because evil intent.
“He started down the path of criminality, if we can call it, literally to eat,” Browne said. “When he was younger, his mother was not taking care of him and was using food stamps for beer and things.”
Harris-Moore will soon go back to school, and hopes to study aeronautical engineering.