Both ‘Balloon Boy’ Parents Get Jail Time
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - "Balloon boy" dad Richard Heene was sentenced Wednesday to 90 days in jail for his part in the October hoax that transfixed the nation. His wife received a 20-day sentence. Each was placed on probation for four years.
"This was all done for the purpose of making money," District Judge Stephen Schapanski said. The judge ordered that the Heenes could not profit directly from his crime.
His wife, Mayumi Heene, was sentenced to 20 days alternative jail time and four years probation because Schapanski said she was "less involved" in the hoax.
Richard Heene was ordered to report to jail by Jan. 11 to serve 30 days. He can serve the remaining 60 days on a work release program.
Mayumi Heene will be allowed to start her sentence after her husband's release. She will be able to serve the sentence through an alternative program.
Richard and Mayumi Heene pleaded guilty to charges that they carried out the balloon stunt in October to promote a reality TV show. They reported that their 6-year-old son was floating away in a helium balloon.
Before being sentenced, Richard Heene apologized for the hoax, saying "I'm very, very sorry."
Mayumi Heene didn't address the court.
Prosecutor Andy Lewis said Richard Heene "wasted a lot of manpower and a lot of money in wanting to get himself some publicity." He says a message needs to be sent to other self-promoters that they will be punished for orchestrating hoaxes.
Richard Heene pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to influence a public servant, a class 4 felony. The penalty range for a class 4 felony is two to six years in the Department of Corrections and a fine of $2,000 to $500,000.
Mayumi Heene pleaded guilty to one count of false reporting to authorities, a class 3 misdemeanor. The penalty range for a class 3 misdemeanor is up to six months in county jail and a fine of $50 to $750.
A separate hearing will likely be held to determine how much, if any, the Heenes will have to pay in restitution.