POSTED: Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 2:58pm
UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 10:59pm
The Colorado couple who staged an elaborate hoax when they reported their son missing aboard a runaway balloon plead guilty in court Friday. Richard Heene pleaded guilty Friday morning to the felony charge of attempting to influence a public servant. His wife, Mayumi Heene also entered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor, false reporting to authorities.
The charges stem from a hoax that started with home video of a balloon taking off from the Heene's backyard last month. A frantic call followed to 911 saying the Heene’s 6 year old son Falcon might be in the balloon floating away. But the balloon landed near Denver International Airport with no boy inside.
A few hours later falcon appeared and from there the story unraveled. Heene's attorney said keeping the family together was a factor in the plea deal. Mayumi, a citizen of Japan, could have been deported if convicted of more serious charges.
They had hoped the balloon boy incident would help their chances of getting a reality TV show, investigators said, now a judge will decide what is next for them. Under the terms of the plea deal, Richard Heene could face up to 90 days in jail, his wife 60 days. The sentences are expected to be formally handed down next month.