'Affluenza' teen sentenced to two years in Texas jail
A TEXAS judge ordered "affluenza" teen, Ethan Couch, to serve two years in jail for the killing of four people after a 2013 DUI crash.
Mr Couch, who turned 19 on Monday, was ordered to serve four consecutive 180-day sentences for each person killed in the crash. This was his first appearance in adult court for the charges.
"You're not getting out of jail today," Fort Worth Judge Wayne Salvant said to Mr Couch.
"For Ethan Couch's 19th birthday we hope he doesn't get what he wants, but instead gets what he needs - and that's the maximum amount of jail time the judge is able to give him," Mothers Against Drunk Driving North Texas Executive Director, Jason Derscheid, said in a statement.
Mr Couch, whose birthday was on Monday, was initially given a 10-year probation sentence in juvenile court. His defense argued that he suffered from a condition called "affluenza," resulting from a life of coddling from his wealthy family.
Mr Couch was caught violating his probation in December when a picture emerged showing him at a party that served alcohol - a violation of his probation. With his mother, Mr Couch fled to Mexico to avoid penalties from authorities. Authorities apprehended the pair at a Puerto Vallarta hotel after they reportedly ordered a pizza from a Domino's Pizza.
During the probationary period, Mr Couch was ordered by the juvenile court judge to participate in rehabilitation programs. This managed to cost Texas taxpayers a considerable amount.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram found that Mr Couch received $200,000 in "residential care and support" paid for by the state for more than a year after his probation sentence. According to the report, the court determined Mr Couch's parents were "financially unable to pay" for their son's rehabilitation at North Texas State Hospital in February 2014. Costs were reportedly $20,000 per month. Mr Couch was transferred to a different facility in November 2014, where daily costs totaled $103.
Mr Couch has been held in a Tarrant County maximum-security jail since February 5. It remains unclear whether or Wednesday's sentence includes time served.