Man who invoked 'affluenza' defence released from Texas jail

Clay Curtis
April 3, 2018

Ethan Couch, the teenager dubbed "affluenza teen", was released from jail early today, after a mere two year sentence for killing four people driving drunk, and then later fleeing to Mexico with his mother who is also now in prison.

Couch served almost two years for violating his probation. Tim Williams' best friend, Brian Jennings, was one of the four people killed by Couch in 2013.

Juvenile Judge Jean Boyd eventually sentenced Couch to rehab and 10 years of probation. Couch's attorneys argued his wealthy upbringing made it impossible for him to understand the consequences of his actions, dubbing it "affluenza".

Couch, who is now 20, left the Tarrant County probation office about 11:45 a.m., passing through a throng of media in silence before leaving in the back of a Tesla and returning to his father's home in northwest Fort Worth.

They were found in the resort town of Puerto Vallarta, and flown back to the United States were the teenager was ordered to jail for 720 days.

Mother and son were later captured in Mexico and sent back to the us, and a judge in 2016 revoked Ethan Couch's probation.

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Couch will remain under supervision that includes a Global Positioning System ankle monitor and frequent drug and alcohol testing, officials said. Ethan Couch feared that his probation would be revoked - probationers, juvenile or otherwise, aren't allowed to drink alcohol - so he and his mother had a goodbye party and headed for Puerto Vallarta.

Ethan couch will no longer be behind prison bars but he won't exactly be free. Tonya Couch is awaiting trial for hindering the apprehension of a fugitive and money laundering related to taking Ethan to Mexico in 2015 after he violated his probation.

Couch "will now serve the remaining six years of his period of community supervision under the terms and conditions imposed by the court", his lawyers, Scott Brown and Reagan Wynn, told ABC News in a statement.

Couch's mother, Tonya, is now awaiting trial on a range of charges, and is being held in the same jail. He was drunk, with a blood alcohol level of 0.24, and crashed into the group, setting off a series of crashes that killed four people and injured 12. Court documents say she failed a urine analysis test for drugs.

She was booked into the same jail as her son, only days before he was released.

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