The mother of Colton Harris-Moore, the once elusive "Barefoot Bandit," is glad her son entered into a historic plea deal with federal prosecutors Friday, consolidating a number of burglaries, thefts and other crimes he was accused of committing in eight states.
"I'm happy with the way things are going. I'm very pleased," Harris-Moore's mother, Pam Kohler, said in an exclusive interview with The Huffington Post.
After a two-year international manhunt, Harris-Moore, a native of Camano Island, Wash., was captured in the Bahamas on July 11, 2010, after a high-speed boat chase. He earned his nickname for pulling off his capers while going shoeless, amassing a huge Internet fan following along the way.
"I'm glad he was found safe and did not get shot," Kohler said.
Following his arrest in the Bahamas, a shackled and shoeless Harris-Moore was deported to the U.S., where he was investigated by nine states for allegedly committing dozens of crimes since April 2008, including the theft of a $450,000 yacht and several airplanes.
According to Kohler, her son was never taught to fly, evident by the fact that each of the planes he is suspected of stealing crash-landed. Authorities speculate that Harris-Moore taught himself how to fly by reading aircraft manuals and handbooks.
"I often think about the stories [he will be able to] tell the grandkids," Kohler laughed when discussing her son's exploits.
On Friday, Harris-Moore, 20, pleaded guilty to seven charges brought in U.S. District Court in Seattle, including plane theft, boat theft, a bank burglary and weapons violations. The plea deal was a first for federal prosecutors and was warranted by the number jurisdictions that were involved.
Per the terms of the plea deal, Harris-Moore agreed to forfeit all rights he may have to any movie or book deals. He also agreed to pay more than $1.4 million in restitution to his victims in the federal case, and an estimated $250,000 for crimes he allegedly committed in Washington State.
"Mr. Harris-Moore will not profit from his crimes," San Juan County Prosecutor Randall K. Gaylord said regarding the plea agreement. "At the same time, victims of his crimes will have a fund from which to seek to be reimbursed and to have restitution paid. I fully support and approve of the action taken by the United States Attorney."
Kohler said there is a movie in the works but said she wants production stopped until she receives her stake -- a $300,000 payout she claims the producers promised her.
"[My lawyer] is sending an injunction to halt production of the movie," she said.
In exchange for Harris-Moore's guilty plea, federal prosecutors recommended a sentence of up to six and a half years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for October.
Harris-Moore must still face charges in Park County, Wyo., where he allegedly stole a pickup truck and broke into a roofing company in 2010. Prosecutors there declined to participate in the federal plea deal.
In addition, Harris-Moore still faces 32 charges in four Washington counties. He is expected to enter into an across-the-board plea bargain with Washington prosecutors sometime this summer. If he does not, he faces up to a decade behind bars for a first degree robbery charge, the most serious offense he still faces.
Despite all this, Harris-Moore's mom does not think her son will spent much time behind bars. She said he plans to enroll in aviation school after his release.
"I don't think he’ll do even ten years," she said. "He'll only do four or five."
Harris-Moore is being held at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac. Officials there expect to transfer him to the Island County jail in Coupeville sometime next month.
"I look forward to [his transfer]," Kohler said. "I have a broken back so I haven't been able to visit him. I can't stay in a car for that long of a ride."
Kohler added: "We stay in contact [via] phone and letters. He is doing good. He plays soccer a lot and has to wear shoes now. No more bare feet."