Feds join search for teen who invoked ‘affluenza’ after causing deadly wreck

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Affluenza’ teen Ethan Couch who was ‘too rich’ for jail sentence goes missing.

The wealthy Texas teen who was given probation after killing 4 in a 2013 drunk-driving accident, has gone missing. Ethan Couch, who killed four people in a drunken wreck in 2013, appears for his court hearing in Fort Worth, Texas in December 2013. (AP Photo/KDFW-FOX 4, File) U.S. marshals have joined the search for the teenager whose “affluenza” defense spared him from jail after he killed four people while driving drunk.

Tarrant County Sheriffs say Ethan Couch is the top fugitive they are trying to find, and believe that he and his mother have not only skipped town, but possibly the country.If you haven’t read or talked enough about “affluenza boy” Ethan Couch — and, really, is there an upper end? — the excellent Texas CrimeCast crew has more for your ears.

During Ethan Couch’s trial, his defence attorneys argued that he suffered from affluenza because of his family’s wealth and was unable to comprehend the consequences of his actions due to his dysfunctional relationship with his parents. Prosecutors said on Wednesday they’re trying to determine whether Couch, 18, was one of the people drinking at a party in a video posted on social media this month. Dallas Morning News investigative reporter Brooks Egerton also talks about his series on how some dentists have gotten away relatively unscathed despite some deadly results. “Some people call dentistry a cottage industry still in that it’s kind of isolated from the rest of health care in a way that medicine is not,” Egerton says. The 18-year-old named by Tarrant County officials as Ethan Couch, and placed on the county’s most wanted list, missed his mandatory meeting with his probation officer, prompting a warrant for his apprehension to be issued on Dec. 11.

On Tuesday, the juvenile-justice equivalent of an arrest warrant was issued for Couch, who received 10 years’ probation last year in his intoxication manslaughter case. “Ultimately, he will go before a juvenile judge to determine next steps, which could include up to his being detained at the Juvenile Detention Center until his 19th birthday in April,” she said. The judge could find that he violated his probation and terminate his probation and sentence him up to ten years in prison.” (©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. Sam Jordan, spokeswoman for the Tarrant County district attorney’s office, said investigators with Juvenile Services and with the district attorney’s office are searching for the two. Menikos oversees the 323rd District Court and is expected to rule on a request to move Couch’s case from juvenile court to adult court after Couch turns 19. A psychologist who testified on the youth’s behalf at his trial claimed his condition of “affluenza” shielded him from responsibility for his actions but is not recognized as a diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association.

When Couch was prosecuted in juvenile court, his lawyers invoked the affluenza defence that claimed his irresponsible lifestyle was due to wealthy parents who coddled him. The county launched an investigation this month after a video was made public that appeared to show the teen among a group at party where beer pong was being played. Couch killed 24-year-old Breanna Mitchell, whose SUV had broken down, and three people who had stopped to help: youth pastor Brian Jennings 41, and Hollie Boyles, 52, and her daughter, Shelby Boyles, 21. Couch, who had been drinking at his parents’ second home in Burleson, got behind the wheel with seven people piled into his Ford pickup, authorities said.

In the months after the crash, Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst asked the Senate committee on criminal justice to review how probation sentences are issued in adult and juvenile cases of intoxication manslaughter.

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