Thursday, November 18, 2010


Colton Harris-Moore was arraigned today. They took him in early, as the proceedings begin at 9 a.m., but can go on for hours as defendant after defendant is brought in to face the judge.

Colton plead not guilty to the Federal offenses that include stealing an airplane and taking it across state lines from Bonner's Ferry, Idaho, to Granite Falls, Washington, taking a boat across the Columbia River from WA to OR, and bringing a gun across the border from Canada.

The judge set a trial date of January 18.

The big question for Colt watchers is whether the many charges in WA and the other charges and potential charges in OR, WY, SD, IA, IL and IN will be consolidated into one trial or plea bargain arrangement. So far Island County, WA, where Colt grew up, says they're determined to put him on trial there separate from any Federal trial or plea.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


This Saturday night, November 13, CBS 48 Hours Mystery will air a full hour on Colton. This CBS crew worked the story a long time, so I’m hoping for a good show. They spent a lot of time here on Orcas and Camano, and sent crews across the country to cover the events during Colt’s run.

I declined to go on camera with them while they were first on Orcas because Colt was still at large and I felt the press attention was escalating the danger for both him and anyone who might get in his way. Once he was captured, I agreed to do an interview and spoke with them at length back in July in the Bahamas and then did a little bit more interview and some B-roll back here on Orcas a few weeks later.

For those on this site who’ve told me they like the behind-the-scenes stuff, most TV interviews you see like this are done in hotel rooms — and that’s what we did in Nassau. B-roll is the name for the background and atmospheric shots you see usually running behind a voice over as a way to segue between main shots. Often they’ll be sort of silly shots of the correspondent walking awkwardly with the interview subject down a beach, or the interview subject awkwardly making a phone call, or talking (awkwardly) with a co-worker. For this show, they took some shots of me kayaking and walking my dog around the island. I know Murphy will be pissed if his footage is left on the cutting room floor. He could care less if he looks awkward — he just wants some screen time.

As for me… It’s an interesting spot to be in. I spoke on-camera for something over three hours. My on-camera answers to Peter Van Sant’s questions were just what anyone who’s read my posts and comments here would expect: overly long and full of context.

So, as someone who’s always been the interviewer, I’m now in the uncomfortable position of interviewee, wondering how they’ll cut all my verbiage down to a couple minutes of airtime. I’ve taken great pains and lots of words here — as I did on camera —to explain how I do indeed feel empathy for Colton and his very painful history while at the same time I sympathize with his victims and understand the lingering pain and the damage to the trusting lifestyle of my own community and the similar one down on Camano. Whether all that comes across to these seven-or-so million viewers as it has to you, we’ll see.

So, on to the stuff you’re actually interested in: What are you going to learn about Colton and his long, often barefoot, run from the law? There are lots of details that, naturally, I’ve been saving for the book, but because these pesky CBS producers know what they’re doing, some of those will be spilled in this show. Problem is, I’m not sure which ones. I assume, though, that you’ll learn some fascinating details about what Colton carried all the way across the country and to the Bahamas. Yes, you know about the Mac laptop and the pistol and maybe some of the other electronics, but he also carried a few personal papers, photos and drawings that are very telling.

There will be some surprises as to where Colton went and spent time when he wasn’t on Camano or Orcas. They may show how he communicated with people while he was on the run. And hopefully you’ll also get to see how beautiful this part of the world is.

On the other side, you’ll probably get to see Marion and Maxine and Kyle and Pat and Kelly and Scott and Jason and some of the many other alleged victims I’ve met along this trail who bring the story of “the kid who could fly” back to earth and show the real effects.

I’ll wait and see what’s in the show before commenting on anything else. And, by the way, I don’t have a television and will be out at an island potluck during air time. It may take a couple of days before I can see a tape of the show and respond to any comments.

TV and movies do some things better than books and other print, while absolutely nothing beats a book for telling the full story. TV is, obviously, a visual medium, and I’m looking forward to great visuals in this program and hoping for a fair treatment of the story.

Also: Next Monday, the 15th, is the deadline for Federal prosecutors to file their charges against Colt. If it happens on time, you’ll see it in the news. I’ll post some highlights as soon as I digest them. And once again, sorry I’ve been AWOL for so long, but I'm working double time on the book.