Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Born to Run: Inside the Mind of the Barefoot Burglar

Faint gleams of hope

 

Harris-Moore's prospects of leading a normal and productive life one day do not initially look very promising. Harris-Moore faces multiple charges in his home state of Washington, and detectives are still gathering evidence for about 10 new charges there. The young man faces dozens of federal charges, carrying prisons sentences totaling well over a lifetime. While Harris-Moore suffers from several documented mental illnesses that at the very least influenced his illegal behavior, he faces significant hurdles if he attempts to use his psychological state as part of a defense strategy, Dr. Stephen Diamond, a psychologist specializing in forensics, told truTV. Leaving aside his legal problems, Harris-Moore's biggest challenge is to get the treatment he needs, Diamond observed.

"Unfortunately, most of the psychotherapies that we have and the treatment programs that we have for these mental disorders [from which Harris-Moore suffers] really don't address adequately the underlying and unconscious anger and rage these individuals suffer from and make everyone else suffer from," Diamond told truTV.

Colton Harris-Moore
Colton Harris-Moore
Still, there is a thread of hope. It is possible that Harris-Moore will be able to one day channel his drive and talents to one day help society. Famed impostor and conman Frank William Abagnale Jr., whose life was portrayed in the film Catch Me if You Can and to whom Colton is often compared, was able to become a successful security consultant after serving less than five years in prison.

"If someone like him gets sent to prison and doesn't get the proper treatment, they basically become better at what they have already been doing and they also become angrier. This is the basic problem with the justice system," Diamond told truTV. "While the prognosis is poor, if he were to get the right kind of treatment, which is the crucial issue, it is possible that he could choose to turn his life around and use his talents, intelligence, aggressions, and his anger constructively."

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