"Balloon Boy" Parents Richard and Mayumi Heene Sentenced
Richard Heene, the father of the "Balloon Boy" Falcon Heene, was sentenced to 90 days of jail time and four years probation today. Heene will have to serve 30 days of jail time straight. For the remaining time, he can work during daytime, but must be jailed at night. Heene's wife Mayumi faces up to 60 days in jail. She will be sentenced later today. [The Latest Update is that Mayumi has been sentenced to 20 days of supervised public service, four years probation and no jail time.] Richard and Mayumi Heene were accused of staging the "balloon hoax" involving their six-year-old son Falcon Heene flying away in a saucer-shaped helium balloon from their home in Fort Collins on October 15, 2009.
The "balloon boy" incident kept millions of viewers around the world glued to their television screens. Hours of broadcast time were spent covering the incident in full faith that the six-year-old boy was trapped inside the balloon that was mid-air, flying uncontrollably. Days after the incident, Richard and Mayumi Heene were accused of fabricating the story to attract attention to their family. The Heenes appeared on reality TV a few times. Richard Heene also shot weather reports and documentaries for a living. Back in November it was alleged the couple would plead guilty to charges in the case: Mayumi Heene was to plead guilty to falsely reporting the authorities because she was the one who called 911 reporting her son missing; Richard Heene was to plead guilty to a felony charge of attempting to influence a public official as an alleged mastermind behind the plot. The guilty plea came on the threat that Mayumi Heene could be deported to Japan. Originally, it was speculated Mayumi Heene would receive six months in jail, while Richard Heene could face 2-6 years behind bars.
Today, Richard Heene apologized saying he was "very, very sorry." The judge barred Richard Heene from receiving any financial profit from the case - which implies no books, memoirs, or documentaries can be sold by Heene.
Just yesterday, it was announced that Heenes would have to pay a $42,000 fine for the emergency services deployed for no reason as the result of the hoax they staged.
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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada