FORT COLLINS: A Colorado man who claimed his son had floated off in the sky in a runaway helium balloon was sentenced yesterday to 90 days in jail, most of that on a work-release basis, for staging the hoax.
But the boy's mother was spared from serving any jail time, sentenced instead to 20 days of supervised public service. Both also were placed on probation for four years, and will be ordered to pay fines and restitution that will be calculated following a later hearing.
The sentencing of Richard and Mayumi Heene, who have three sons, ended a two-month legal saga that began on October 15 with what authorities said was a publicity stunt aimed at gaining the family their own reality television show. As a condition of their probation, the judge barred the couple from earning any financial benefit, such as from a book deal or other media venture, that might be generated by the so-called "balloon boy" escapade.
The father was ordered to report to jail by January 11 to begin serving his term. His wife will start her sentence once the husband completes his.