I’ve gotten a few pings lately asking if I’m still here. Sorry for going silent for a few weeks, but the good folks over at Hyperion are hoping to get this book to you sooner than scheduled so I’ve been working every hour available, writing and researching.
Normally, all the research for a book happens before the actual writing begins. This ain’t normally. The research — uncovering new sources and secrets — is the fun part. (The actual writing part, for me at least, is occasionally about as enjoyable as having dental work). So it’s good, in one way, that every week I’m still digging up new pieces of information and finding new insight into this fascinating story. The bad part is that every moment spent interviewing new witnesses or acquaintances of Colt, or poking through the woods to discover one of his hideouts is time where I’m not here duct-taped to my laptop.
And to complicate matters, the story continues to unfold…
Everyone is most interested in what’s going on with Colt right now. He remains locked up in SeaTac Federal Detention Center. He’s doing about as well as can be expected. Sources in the system say that he’s still being held in solitary confinement. That’s not as punishment, but as a form of protective custody. Remember that he hasn’t been sentenced to any federal crimes, so he’s simply being held without bail, and the authorities believe it wouldn’t look good to have him roughed up in prison before he might be convicted. He’s getting lots of mail, corresponding with some old friends, and reportedly keeping a positive attitude. He, naturally, wishes he was someplace else.
A federal judge gave prosecutors until November 15 to present their indictments against Colton. Remember I’m not a lawyer so this is just for discussion purposes, but doing a quick look at the timeline I’ve created that includes criminal activity where there appears to be evidence, I’d guess the feds will present at least five or six interstate charges for planes, a boat and vehicles, each of which could carry a 10-year sentence. There could also be a federal charge for a bank break-in, maybe for assault and battery on an ATM, and possibly other sundry charges if they feel they can prove firearm violations.
State and local charges present a whole ‘nother issue. The million-dollar and many-years-behind-bars question is about consolidation. Conceivably, Colton could face federal charges, be found guilty, and get sentenced to x-number of 10-year sentences to be served concurrently — meaning he might do seven years. If all the various states and counties where prosecutors are also busy preparing cases can’t agree to come together and consolidate, then Colton risks a travelling road show where at any stop he could get a touchy local judge that slaps him with an additional 20.
A layman’s look at the potential local charges shows that some appear to be slam-dunks based on evidence, while others smell like polished dung due to lack of evidence. With a lot of suspected crimes to choose from, though, prosecutors may come to the negotiating table with a bulging box of charges but then, when it comes down to thinking they might have to actually try the case, winnow it down to just their strongest. However, just cherry picking cases could leave Colt in a lot of jeopardy if they’re tried one-by-one.
In our justice system, the defendant must agree to consolidating charges in one venue. On Colt’s side, you have the probability that he’d get a lesser sentence under a consolidation deal. On the prosecution side, you have the benefit of saving money by not having to prosecute and potentially incarcerate him in all the various jurisdictions. Add in, though, the political issues where local residents want to see Colt sentenced in the place where he did damage, and where local victims demand a shot at restitution, and you’ve got some very interesting dealings going on in the coming months.
Back to the dental work… Thank you to those hanging in there — I promise to post more frequently.