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'Barefoot Bandit' sentenced in federal court

The Los Angeles Times reported that the "Barefoot Bandit," as he was came to be known, was sentenced Friday in federal court for his four-year international crime spree involving stolen planes, boats and weapons.

Surprisingly, the 20-year-old was handed down a prison sentence of only 6 1/2 years for federal crimes that allegedly amounted to losses of $1.3 million. It seemed that the young man's intellect as well as his tragic upbringing impacted the federal judge presiding over the case.

When addressing the federal judge, the Barefoot Bandit said that he considered himself lucky to be alive after all the dangerous things he had done, including crash-landing a stolen plane on a Caribbean island.

"I'd like to first say that what I did could be called daring, but it is no stretch of the imagination to say that I'm lucky to be alive," he said.

The young man also appeared remorseful for the crime spree, saying: "My actions affected many people, and from a place of acceptance, humility and remorse I again apologize."

The sentence runs concurrently with an earlier sentence of 7 1/2 years that was handed down by a judge in the state of Washington for crimes committed there, including several burglaries and thefts.

A concurrent sentence can drastically decrease the amount of prison time served because it allows a defendant convicted of more than one criminal offense to serve each period of incarceration at the same time.

This means the young man will be serving both his federal and state sentences simultaneously and rather than 14 years, he will only serve 7 1/2. This is different from a consecutive sentence in which both sentences must be served separately and in full.

Concurrent sentencing is common when a defendant has been particularly cooperative throughout the sentencing, when the charges are similar in nature or as part of a plea bargain.

Source: The Los Angeles Times, "'Barefoot Bandit' gets federal sentence," Kim Murphy, Jan. 27, 2012

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