BOULDER, Colo. –

More than three years after helping stage former Marine Lance Hering’s disappearance â launching a nationwide search that would last 27 months â Steve Powers’ debt to the Boulder community is paid, prosecutors said Monday.

The Boulder County District Attorney’s Office on Monday filed a motion to drop a complaint that Powers, among other things, violated the conditions of his probation by paying only a fraction of the $33,057 in restitution he was ordered to pay for search-and-rescue efforts. Powers was billed for the cost of the search for Hering when he pleaded guilty to false reporting in 2007.

Hering and his father each made voluntary payments last month to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office totaling the $30,705 that remained on the rescue bill, letting Powers off the hook for the restitution.

Hering, who faces false reporting charges and a probation violation, isn’t due again in court on the charges until August, and his attorney said he’s fighting any deal that would mar his record with a felony.

Deputy District Attorney Dave Cheval on Monday said his office had filed additional probation-violation complaints against Powers for not providing proof of employment and for missing several probation meetings. But, Cheval said, his office isn’t pursuing those allegations now that the bill is paid.

“This will effectively close the case,” Cheval said.

Powers’ defense attorney Larry Mertes said his client is “grateful to Hering for his assisting with the restitution matter.”

Mertes said he believes prosecutors dropped the other complaints against his client because they were “technical violations versus real violations.”

“The dismissal of the complaints bears that out,” Mertes said.

Powers is, however, stuck with a felony on his record that stems from an unrelated 2004 arrest: Police said they caught Powers and Hering breaking into a Savers store in south Boulder, but Powers said they were climbing buildings in town and had no intention of breaking in.

Both he and Hering were given deferred sentences for felony attempted burglary in that case, meaning they had to stay out of trouble for two years to have their records cleared. Because Powers helped Hering disappear before his deferred sentence expired, a judge revoked Powers’ deferred sentence, meaning he has a permanent felony on his record, Mertes said.

Mertes said there are “no ongoing negotiations at this time” to clear that felony.

Hering was offered a plea deal last month that also would keep him out of jail but leave him with a felony on his record. He has not accepted that offer, and his attorney, Alex Garlin, said, “This Iraq combat veteran deserves better.

“If Lance gets a felony conviction, it’s going to be a black eye that will be with him for the rest of his life,” Garlin said. “With that mark, many, many of society’s doors will be closed in his face, and we know that Lance has a lot to offer this community and to offer society in general.”

The Hering family paid the restitution voluntarily, Garlin said, because they appreciated the community’s search efforts in 2006. The family wanted to pay the total, irrespective of the outcome of Hering’s court case, Garlin said.

“Even if the case came out in such a way that the court couldn’t have ordered the restitution, they would have paid it,” Garlin said. “So the thought was, why wait?”

The payment had nothing to do with Powers, Garlin said.

“It wasn’t done for him at all,” Garlin said. “It was done because Lance and his parents believe very, very strongly that it was the right thing to do.”

In a statement dated March 26, Hering’s parents thanked the community for their efforts to find their son and said the search “was not in vain.” They said it has always been a priority to repay Boulder County for the rescue operation.

“Those costs have now been paid,” they wrote. “We remain very grateful to all those who participated in our efforts to find Lance. We are now blessed with the chance to rebuild our family and move forward together.”

Ongoing Coverage: Lance Hering

Archived comments

Steve Powers is a stand up guy.He stood with his friend.You don’t find many of those these days.To bad he couldn’t find a better person, than Herring, to support.


4/6/2009 7:32:26 PM

Semper Fi!


4/6/2009 7:38:06 PM

Thanks to Lance’s rich as sin Daddy.Must be nice.


4/6/2009 9:48:58 PM

NukesInBoulder Go earn some money and stop whining about how little you make!


4/6/2009 10:30:38 PM

Biggie finally got one right.


4/6/2009 11:43:00 PM

If Lance`s daddy was so rich, why did he go into the military in the first place?

4/7/2009 12:28:57 AM

If Steve POwers is such a stand up guy then how come he did not do the right thing and have the integrity in the first place to report his friend when he broke the law?


4/7/2009 8:12:52 AM

…because he’s his friend? Just a thought.


4/7/2009 9:14:53 AM

celticman, or should we call you Judas? … may all your “friends” be aware of your dearth of loyalty.


4/7/2009 12:03:14 PM

Has anyone read thru the previous stories? I hadn’t; had to educate myself. Does anyone know if the claims Powers made about fearing for his life from his Troop were ever substantiated?


4/7/2009 2:44:44 PM

Wait! I know! I know!Hering, not Powers!! I know! Sorry… don’t yell.;)


4/7/2009 2:45:32 PM

So, it seem that the county just wanted the money. As soon as they got it they dropped all the charges because, you know, that would cost them money to prosecute. This was never about justice.


4/7/2009 2:57:16 PM

celticman Ever hear of fidelity?


4/7/2009 10:51:48 PM