He wanted to be famous and now he is. Richard Heene, whose “flying saucer” balloon received national attention when it was thought his six-year-old son was inside, has been sentenced to 30 days in jail “straight time” and another 60 days on a work release program.
And Heene, who has spent years auditioning for reality TV programs and trying to achieve fame and riches, will not be allowed to financially gain from the stunt.
Heene was on the verge of crying in Larimer County Court in Colorado as he apologized for his actions on Wednesday.
He’s also receiving four years probation.
Richard’s wife Mayumi received four years probation Wednesday and was sentenced to 20 days in jail. Their son, Falcon, was in their home while his parents told police and others he was missing, leading everyone to think the child was in the runaway balloon.
Richard’s sentence will begin on January 11, 2010,– so that he can spend the holidays with his family.
Judge Stephen Schapanski told the court that he believed Heene was ‘contrite’ about the incident but that he believed the case was all about ‘deception and the exploitation of children and the media and making money’.
Before a sentence was passed an emotional Richard Heene addressed the court saying that he was “very, very sorry” to all the rescue workers and local people who were involved in the rescue mission.
The oddball husband and wife have already been hit with a $42,000 bill from local, state and federal agencies for their October stunt when they claimed their six-year-old son had crawled into a hot air balloon in their back yard and been whisked away into the sky.