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'Barefoot bandit' court appearance postponed

By the CNN Wire Staff
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'Barefoot bandit' sets foot in Miami
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The hearing for Colton Harris-Moore will be held Friday
  • NEW: The 19-year-old had no legal representatives in court Wednesday
  • At Friday's court appearance, he will be told of his rights and read his charges
  • In the Bahamas, he pleaded guilty to illegally landing a plane

Miami, Florida (CNN) -- A Miami, Florida, court appearance for Colton Harris-Moore, the so-called "barefoot bandit," has been postponed until Friday, as he did not have a U.S.-based attorney to represent him Wednesday.

Wearing government-issued socks, sandals and shackles, the 19-year-old Harris-Moore told the judge his mother hired an attorney whose name he did not know.

Public defender Hector Topico offered to assist Harris-Moore in contacting the attorney in Washington state.

Harris-Moore was taken into custody on Harbour Island in the Bahamas early Sunday.

He was sought in a string of home and airport break-ins in various U.S. locations along with thefts of vehicles.

In the Bahamas, Harris-Moore pleaded guilty to a charge of illegally landing a plane, paid a $300 fine and was ordered deported, his lawyer said.

He was then flown to Miami on Tuesday, the FBI said.

Typically in extradition cases, the accused makes a first appearance in the federal court closest to where he was arrested, said Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Western District of Washington.

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RELATED TOPICS
  • Crime
  • Bahamas
  • Miami

The Southern District of Florida, in Miami, is the closest jurisdiction to the Bahamas, said Langlie.

In his initial U.S. appearance, he will be told of his rights and read an initial charge of interstate transportation of stolen property, Langlie said.

The complaint, which was sealed until last week, was filed last December and stems from his allegedly stealing a plane in Bonner's Ferry, Idaho, and crashing it outside Granite Falls, Washington, she said.

After his initial appearance, U.S. marshals will take him to the Western District of Washington in Seattle.

Under the federal system, the case will then go to a grand jury. If an indictment is returned, more charges could be filed.

The federal charge of interstate transportation of stolen goods carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

Federal prosecutors are working with other states to determine the best way to go forward in this case, but the Washington courts will get him first since he was arrested on their warrant, Langlie said.

"He seems to be very remorseful," attorney Monique Gomez, a Bahamian lawyer who represented Harris-Moore in Nassau, told CNN in a telephone interview.

Asked whether he acknowledges guilt in the other cases, Gomez said, "Let me put it this way -- he wishes he had done things a little differently in his life."

Still, she added, he appeared "in good spirits."

Authorities in Madison County, Nebraska, issued an arrest warrant for Harris-Moore last month on charges of burglary and theft by unlawful taking or deception. The affidavit supporting the warrant alleges the youth waged a crime spree.

He faces charges in Washington state in the theft of an aircraft, and police have said they believe he stole a Cessna in Indiana and flew it to the Bahamas, where it was found in the shallows off Abaco Island.

The teen had been on the run since he escaped from a juvenile halfway house in Renton, Washington, in 2008. The FBI had offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Harris-Moore is called the "barefoot bandit" because he was without shoes when he allegedly broke into houses. He also was barefoot when apprehended in the Bahamas at the Romora Bay Resort and Marina by police responding to a reported sighting Sunday.

The youth has amassed more than 80,000 Facebook fans. In December, Time magazine dubbed him "America's Most Wanted Teenage Bandit." Also, 20th Century Fox has purchased the rights for a film based on his exploits.

CNN's Ashley Hayes, John Couwels, Patrick Oppmann, Susan Candiotti, Tom Watkins and InSession Correspondent Jean Casarez contributed to this report.