The “Barefoot Bandit”…how I accidentally covered the court case

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on July 12, 2017 by islandjenn

 

The night before the hearing, I thought to myself, “Hmmm I think I wanna see this.” I set the alarm on my phone so I could get up, shower, have my mandatory coffee and wander up to the courthouse. However, it seems I chose to utilize that stupid and yet irresistible

function of the “snooze” feature. I woke up giving myself 15 minutes to get dressed, consume 1/2 cup of coffee and grab my cameras. Trust me, I’m not sure how I managed to even put shoes on without having my mandatory 2 cups of caffeine.

The courthouse is only a couple of blocks from my house. Upon arriving, I expected to see the hundreds, maybe even thousands of people, the town was expecting. I was there by 7:45 am and had every intention of just shooting the masses and the media frenzy until the doors opened at 9am.

There was definitely a media frenzy, satelite trucks everywhere, reporters all standing in the semi-darkness and gentle drizzle, reporting “LIVE FROM COUPEVILLE”. I almost thought I was in the wrong place because when I looked at the actual entrance to the courthouse, there was only 3 women standing there. Let me backup for a second, I promise to come back to this.

My beautiful little quaint town of Coupeville, is basically just that. Everyone knows everyone, it’s the kind of town that when you go to the grocery store, expect an extra 20 minutes of catching up on the town news. We wave at each other when we see each other on the streets. We are accustomed to large crowds once a year during the Annual Arts & Crafts Festival. Normally the only time we will see a Seattle news truck is when there has been a pretty severe windstorm. Exciting stuff, but hey, I love it here because of these facts. All of our local coffee shops, restaurants etc expected to make bank on this particular day. Hell, there was even a guy selling Christmas wreaths outside of the courthouse. Until the sheriff asked for his vendor permit. So basically the masses we were expecting must have also hit their snooze button and chose not to show up.

OK, back to the 3 ladies at the courthouse entrance. Two of them were young ladies, around 19 or 20, I would guess. When I approached them, I asked if this was the line to get in. They said yes, and I was shocked, I thought, what the hell? I might stay and actually watch the hearing. These 2 girls got there at 5am clinching the first spot in line. The other lady had left her graveyard shift and thought she might as well come and watch what the news had been talking non-stop about. I had a lovely time standing in line with these gals, chatting about what was going on. As the time passed more people showed up and I noticed the young ladies getting interviewed every 5 minutes. The media saw 2 pretty young blonde girls and thought “ChaChing! Here’s our stroy…Barefoot Bandit Groupies!”. I can tell you from standing with them for almost 2hrs, they were NOT groupies, they were supporters and curious, just like everyone else who showed up. Ok, maybe they were groupies.

So at one point my phone shows me I have a text message from my girlfriend that read , “Am I watching you on the news right now?”. Crap. Yup, all the live news cameras were on us. Did I shower and pretty it up a bit? Nope. Hair in a ponytail, my favorite jeans and sneakers on. It wasn’t only local friends who saw me, I had a facebook freind from North Carlina saying he saw me too.

As 9am approached, one of the court representatives had come out and addressed the media. He did a roll call of all the pre-approved media and said he would come back and get them to take in the courtroom. He saw me with my cameras and inquired if I was press, to which I replied, “Yes.” I am press, maybe not news press, but I am press. Shooting for 3 musci publications and 2 radio stations count as press right? He said, “I need you to stand on the other side over here with the rest of the press in the stand-by area. If I can fit you in, I will.”

Ok wait….what???? I’m in the press standby area now? No way. For a brief moment I felt all official like, but knew there was no way I was going to be let in and seated in the press area. Wrong. About 10 minutes later he comes back out and expains to the other 7 people around me that they were duplicates of pre-approved publications, then he looks right at me and says, “I have 1 seat left, if you’ll follow me, I’ll take you to the courtroom.” The lack of my normal caffeine consumption had me questioning whether or not I was hallucinating. And yet there I was at security emptying my coat pockets and going through the scanner thing , which I think looks like a portal into a different world. Clear. I did not bring a purse or any ID, just 5 pens in my coat pocket (don’t ask), my cell phone and my cameras.

Next thing I know, I am sitting down in the last available seat. Hello NY Times, CNN, Fox News, I’m Jenn and I shoot for AMP Magazine. ( I did not say this out loud of course). As I make myself comfortable sitting elbow to elbow with my fellow colleagues <cough cough>, I cross my legs like only the professionals do, and I hear the most horrific sound of the crotch of my jeans ripping out….completely. OH….MY….GOD….really? Did the crotch of my jeans really just bust open like a can of biscuits? Did I mention the press box was actually the jury box? So all of us are facing the whole courtroom. Had another lovely little conversation with myself that consisted of “Ok, really? Now what? My hooo-haaa is exposed and CNN is right next to me!” . I decided that it would be inappropriate for me to continue sitting there, I mean c’mon now, this was about the Barefoot Bandit, not my crazy antics! There was a tiny little spot in the back corner that had my name written all over it.

Despite the wardrobe malfunction, I could not believe I was there, and knew nothing else could go wrong. Did I mention that I had shot 3 concerts in Seattle the week before? Yeah, I didn’t think about either until one of my cameras LCD screen started flashing “Change Battery Pack”. Ooops. Thank goodness for having 2 cameras! Except I noticed my 2nd camera’s battery was flashing on low. Colton hadn’t even entered the courtroom yet. No camera bag to yank an extra battery out of….fuck! So I “Tebowed” it for a brief second praying there would be enough juice left that I might actually get one photo of Mr. Barefoot Bandit. Apparently “Tebowing” actually works, because that camera fought like a trooper pulling a 4th quarter miracle! I got a lot of great shots until the moment it actually just flat out died of exhaustion. At that very point, both the prosecution and defense asked for a brief recess. THANK YOU!!!!!!! Once the judge left, I packed my dead camera’s and crotchless self up, and hightailed it home.

Like the title of this article states, “Not your Average Reporter”. If you are unaware of Colton Harris Moore, and his criminal history, you must not have a TV. I will not go into all the details, but I will encourage you to go to wikipedia so that you can learn some of his background and history. I guarantee you will not look at him, or his case the same. Here are my thoughts on the hearing and his sentencing.

When he first entered the courtroom, he did so with integrity. He was respectful and did as he was instructed. At 6’5 he’s a big boy, but his demeanor was that of someone who felt like crap for what they did, so you didn’t really notice his height. There was no coaching or acting, he waited for what he deserved, which the judge thought was 7 1/2 years. I’m telling you right now, if I hear anyone bash Ms. Churchill or the system, I will tell them to do their homework first.

Colton is 20yrs old, but he has been on his own since he was a very young child. Take the time to hear his story before you go off on how he didn’t get enough time. The judge took everything into consideration and said that his upbrining is not an excuse for his behavior, but it has to be taken into consideration. If I told you some things, like his father who was sent to jail when he was a toddler, choked Colton at a family function and almost killed him, his mother is an alcoholic who spent all their money on beer & cigarettes and often shot a rifle in their backyard intoxicated, while cussing so loud the neighbors had to call the cops. When Child Protective Services was called, all they found in the fridge was moldy fries and a few eggs. This is what led him to steal food. He didn’t have any at home. Yes, he stole things like boats , planes, food, clothes etc, but none of his crimes physically hurt anyone except financially. He has agreed with the movie and book deal, to pay restituion to his victims.

In summary, I feel his mother should be the one on trial. As a parent myself, I find her behavior far more atrocious than the crimes he committed. He did not begin stealing because he thought it was “fun”. He did it because his belly was empty and he was hungry. As I watched him in the courtroom, my heart broke hearing his story. And yet he took it like a man, knowing what he did was wrong. Ready to face his consequences. And before you go off ranting about how many things he stole and he should have a stiffer sentence, keep in mind there are people who have killed others while drinking and driving and have been given shorter sentences than Colton received.

Good luck Colton, I hope you get the help you deserve and I truly hope you can turn all of this around and do something good with it.

Advertisements

TODAY STORY: Costco, final goodbye, terrifying monster, and falling

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2013 by islandjenn

Costco- Do you know how thoroughly depressing it is to go and only be able to buy the things on your list? WOW! Thanks for having lots of cool shit I can’t afford Costco! Dog food, cat food, coffee & salsa….stuck to my list even though I felt like grabbing every other thing I saw. See that lovely sweater? What about those nummy looking dips? Or how about all the jazzy Xmas stuff? OMG!!! the Canon 70D?!?!?!?!?!?!? $1499….OMG!!!! I need new gear so bad!!!! Yeah…it was tough just getting my pathetic purchases,every exciting little morsel I found, left me with this face…

Image

Final Goodbye- My 15yr old senior citizen persian “Chester”, passed away a couple of weeks ago. Today I finally removed his litter box, food dish, and swept his fur up off my bedroom floor. That wasn’t easy, but it was time. As stupid as it sounds, by leaving it, it felt like he was still there. R.I.P. Chester I miss you old man.

Image

 

Terrifying Monster & Falling- My daughter and I decided to go for a walk at Ebeys Landing (beach with steep bluff you can hike up and then look out over the water on). On the trail hiking up to it, something very bizarre and terrifying happened. As we were walking, I noticed a terrifying monster! Of course I screamed appropriately, which in turn scared the crap out of my daughter, who then froze yelling “OMG WHAT??!!!??”…for some bizarre reason, my brain processed this as a monster…I shit you not.

Image

this scary little bugger let me get this close…it was just chillin…my scream didn’t even phase it!

 

Falling- Daughter and I start the hike up the bluff….there has been lots of teasing lately because I may, or may not be, a little clumsy at times. This was our first hike since spraining my ankle weeks ago. So my daughter says, “I’m going to walk behind you Mom, you know….in case  you fall ….OMG I’M FALLING!!!!!!”…she literally started to trip as she was razzing me!!! BAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Wait….is it wrong that I laughed? When we got to the top, we sat on our “thinking bench” and enjoyed this view. For a full year now, this has become our special place to think/talk.

Image

PS. I’m still unemployed… (someone hire me dammit!!!)…and still very much in love =)

NO WORK STORY: ………….but definitely a WISHBOX STORY

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on September 20, 2013 by islandjenn

After working for a year at the Coupeville Liquor Store, its doors closed for the last time and I am officially unemployed. Single Mom…unemployed….go me!!! I have applied to several jobs, none of which are panning out. This of course, has me in “Oh Shit, WTF am I gonna do?” mode. Life has an odd sense of humor. I am still here wondering what the universe has planned for me. The words I have heard so often, “You’ll find something, it will all work out…”…are becoming redundant, and they sure as hell don’t pay the bills or put food on the table.

Despite the strife, stress etc….I refuse to give up…not like I really have a choice, right? And I am still smiling =D I am actually happier now, than I have ever been, and yet I am struggling the most. Funny how that works. I’m thinking positive thoughts, and actively looking for another job….HIRE ME!!!!!!…..(that was my attempt at a subliminal message)

On a personal note, I am in love. Yep, I said it. Head over heels, batshit crazy, deeply, deeply in love. It’s scary as hell sometimes and yet the most amazing thing I have ever felt. It is not a “crush” or infatuation…it’s the real thing, holy moly is there ever a difference!!! I can honestly say I have never felt this way. EVER. So if I am all school girl stupid, you know why. All those love  songs that made me wanna barf? Yeah, now they make perfect sense!

My whole life was spent believing in fairy tales, wishing, hoping, waiting. At some point I decided it was all a bunch of BS. I was  sad that something I had believed in for so long, was all a joke, one big miserable joke. After my divorce, my best friend Annie gave me something and it changed everything. It was a wish box. Inside, is a tiny piece of paper that you write your wish on. I wrote, “I wish for true love.”…what the hell, it couldn’t hurt, one last morsel of hope, why not. A year later, that little wish box successfully granted mine. Like WOW! This may sound arrogant, it’s not meant to be….but I truly thought there was no way I would ever fall in love with someone who matched my wit, intelligence, sense of humor or who was as big of a smartass as I am, not to mention goofy as hell. I was wrong.

Thank you Annie….thank you for gently encouraging me to believe again. That little wish box changed my life.

Thank you wish box.Image

 

 

 

WORK STORY- Interesting…..

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on August 16, 2013 by islandjenn

Prelude- I severely sprained my ankle the other night…

WORK STORY: holy hell did I ever make some interesting observations on human behavior today!!! The scenario was  me at work on crutches fumbling around like an idiot…here are the things I noticed…and then really funny bit at the end…I seriously sounded like a broken record so I started making up shit (skydiving, shark attack, line dancing mis-hap, gymnastic routine gone wrong, you get the idea…)

1) People are curious(all people)…they see you injured and wanna know WTF happened…despite already knowing the answer, which is “I obviously have an owie”…they want details ….

2) SOME people and I might add…NOT VERY MANY (the select few)…observed that i was injured… grabbed their own bags and put their purchases in them, moved their goodies closer to me so it was easier to scan,  asked if they could help around the store…these were also the smartass customers joking and teasing me…seriously making fun of me and yet doing everything they could to make it easier on me…(and yes i love them for that)

3) Another set were genuinely concerned/curious, and wished me the best  to get better…no joking or helping…(the majority)

4) Final set(more than the select few who gave a shit).. observed i was on crutches and actually got quite irritated that I was not moving quick enough…one lady was genuinely pissed off that I would not carry her 4 bottles of wine out to her car for her…yes i spoil my customers sometimes…but wow…her: “I need you to take these out to the car for me “…me: “I am so sorry but I can barely move behind the counter, don’t want to break your goodies!”…tried laughing it off…she was not amused…and said “I guess I have to do it myself then”…WTF really?…another customer made a big purchase and clearly saw me struggling to hold the bag and place bottles into it, on one leg…they just stood there huffing and puffing like I wasn’t working quick enough…

OBSERVATION: There are people in this world who want to know your business, not because they care, but because they curious, so they have something to talk about.

There are others who see your pain and not only do they help you, they do everything they can to cheer you up and make it better for you, they genuinely give a shit. They will bend over backwards to make it better.

And then there are those who despite seeing you struggle, still want to be served…they don’t see anything beyond themselves. These people are the ones who think/believe that they are paying your wage…so bow down, injured or not, and PROVIDE. This can be applied to friends and family too. Basically it’s the “Sorry…don’t give a flying f*ck  what you are going through…give me what I need…now.”

I have had the curious ones in my life and I have had the ones demanding to be served. I have been smart enough to surround myself with the ones who tease the shit out of me…but care.

Funny bit as promised…2 customers in store

Customer #1- “What the hell happened to you?”
Me (looking at customer #2)- “I kicked his ass with this foot….”
Customer #1- “And it got stuck?”
Customer #2- “Yep!!!”

All 3 of us laughed our asses off!!!!

My man came in early so he could give me a ride home…he sat patiently while I worked , but then he started handing me bags, grabbing things I needed…he helped me without me ever asking…he says I am stubborn because I do not like asking for help…it was hard to let him…but it was nice =)

WORK STORY: I was blessed today (no…really… like for real), Customers saved me from “el creepo” and a touching “Roxy” moment

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2013 by islandjenn

Got Blessed Today- Still stressing about finding another job, but not giving up. A priest walks up to the counter…(and NO this is not the beginning of a joke lol)…he purchases a jar of pickled onions and says, ” I’m sorry to hear about the store closing, what’s everyone going to do?”..I reply, “Yeah I’m sorry too. Pam is going to retire and focus on her golfing and Heidi is going to focus on her other business and farm. I’m a single Mom, so I am on the hunt for another job.”…he smiles and says , “Well…I bless you in your search for a new job. You will find one, it may not be what you’re expecting, but you will.” And he blessed me. I found out his name was Father Paul. Thank you Father Paul, I appreciate any blessings offered.

El Creepo…DENIED by my own body guards!- I have mentioned some of the creepy things this guys says in previous blogs. (not mario) He is constantly making weird and inappropriate comments that start out as innocent compliments. Saw him pull in and instantly my gut turned. This time I had my delivery guy there and another one of my favorite customers who gets his smokes at the store. Both were ready to leave. I asked them to stay. They agreed. Delivery guy is like 6ft5 and stood on one side of the counter, and customer is a big tough dude and he stood on other side. So el creepo had to go in the middle LOL! El Creepo says, “I saw you and your sister at the grocery store yesterday, you were both looking mighty fine.”….me- “That was not my sister, it was my 14yr old daughter.”….El Creepo just smiles staring at me…bodyguards inch in a little closer, sandwiching him in…lol… obviously making el creepo feel uncomfortable, so he leaves….YES!!!!! After he left, I gave them both HUGE thanks! I am very comfortable handling myself, but it was nice this time to have 2 big dudes helping me out. They both said the same thing after…”That was creepy!”…hence the name El Creepo!

Roxy Moment- So there I was hanging out with Roxy and it kind of hit me. The store is closing in September. No more Roxy time…no more work stories (at least from here)..no more favorite customers …Roxy was in my lap and a single tear dropped. I swear before it hit the floor, she was kissing me like crazy. I told my boss she has become my little therapy dog. She went all silly batshit crazy, kissing me and trying to make me laugh. I swear if there was any snot in my nose , she got it all from her full on facial kissing attack. That precious girl felt my sadness and refused to let me cry. The pic is blurry because hey,… it ain’t easy taking a selfie  trying not to cry, with a dog attacking you with love. Yes there are tears in my eyes..who takes a pic of that? Me…i fucking do…because I wanted to remember that moment.

Image

Get home and see this….really ? Hey …I have an idea…let’s park on the sidewalk in front of this persons house and sit here for an hour or more…pedestrians don’t need sidewalks…hell no…sidewalks are for full size trucks!!!! Friggin moron!!!

Image

WORK STORY: White Deer (thank you universe)…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on July 21, 2013 by islandjenn

I’m in a very scary place right now (for me anyway). My job will be ending soon due to the store having to close. Not gonna lie, I have been stressin every second wondering how the hell I am going to find another job, I am a single Mom in full on survival mode here. I won’t make it monthly even if I collect unemployment. BRAIN is saying MUST FIND JOB!!! When I was first looking for work a year ago, I was willing to take anything. Now I have realized I need to find a job with benefits and that can cover all my living expenses. BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!…yeah right…good luck with that…i know…anyway…enough of my whining….I do have one lead…fingers crossed because it might actually be THAT job! Crazy thing is, it’s one of my favorite customers who told me about it, and I would be working with her!!! So I have a pretty good “in” I hope.

I just happened to look out the window at work today and saw this!!!

Image

walked right through the parking lot!!! Did a bit of research on the meaning (native american) of seeing a white deer…this is what I found

“The fact that you were able to see this very powerful sign – the white deer – is a message that you are on a path of growth and expansion that will lead you in a direction beyond your wildest dreams.  The message of the white deer is one of “get ready.” “

I’m ready….

 

WORK STORY: Mario Strikes AGAIN!…Work Injury…and Making customers laugh their ass off

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 20, 2013 by islandjenn

Mario Strikes Again!- Ok the guy I said looks like living version of Mario from Nintendo? Yeah…he tried a new approach tonight…”That’s a beautiful dress”…me- “Thank you”…him- “And you look even better in it.”…me “Thank you”…him-“No, really…you look really hot in it.”..me-“Thank you again…where are you gong with this?”…walks out of store tail between legs…LMAO! Am I too mean?

Work Injury- I stapled my thumb…yeah that’s right…i f*cking stapled my thumb!!! Stapler was broken…tried fixing it…apparently sending a staple right through your thumb fixes it…your welcome boss…lol

Making Customers Laugh- First my dear,dear friend comes in and I ended up having her in tears, hell…she even made a post on facebook about starting a blog about how i make her laugh…that’s a good thing…right?

Group comes in…we have a deep discussion about the store closing…i make a few jokes, we talk politics for a bit…one of the guys makes a joke about being a husband for NINE years…his in-laws pipe in and say  “We are at 47 years…”…I pipe in and say “HEY!!! I am 1 yr single…go mee!!!!…they giggle…I had previously explained that I am scared as a single Mom…explaining the worries of a single Mom etc…she says…” Well it’s obvious you have a beautiful personality…”…I interrupt her mid-sentence by slapping my hands on the counter and saying…  “I KNOW RIGHT??!?!?!?!?!”…omg…they all started belly laughing…..but then they all gave me the courage and confidence saying ,”You will do just fine”…so yeah…I made them belly laugh and it was awesome!!!! Cuz if you can’t belly laugh when times are tough…well then….you need to learn how