Texas authorities search for teen who used 'affluenza' defence

DALLAS - Authorities are investigating whether a teenager who killed four people in a 2013 drunken-driving wreck - and claimed as part of his defence that he was coddled too much by wealthy parents - has fled with his mother to avoid a potential violation of his probation.

See Full Article

Prosecutors said Wednesday they're trying to determine whether Ethan Couch, 18, was one of the people drinking at a party in a video posted on social media earlier this month.

Lawyers for Couch issued a statement saying his probation officer hasn't been able to reach him for several days, prompting authorities to issue the juvenile equivalent of an arrest warrant for the teen. They're also seeking the boy's mother, Tonya Couch, with whom he had been living.

Sam Jordan, spokeswoman for the Tarrant County district attorney's office, said investigators with Tarrant County Juvenile Services and with the district attorney's office are searching for the two. DA investigators are working to verify whether it's Couch who's seen in the video, she said.

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. He was later sentenced by a judge to probation and time in a rehabilitation centre - a punishment that drew protests from prosecutors and others.

Although Couch is now considered an adult, his case remains in juvenile court because his offence occurred when he was a minor. The DA's office has filed a motion to move it to adult state District Court when Couch turns 19 in April. A hearing has not been scheduled to consider the motion.

"We're limited on what can be released because for now it remains a juvenile matter," Jordan said.

The case against the teen has generated outrage at various turns, with even the Texas Legislature at one point weighing in.

A pickup driven by Couch in June 2013 was travelling at more than 65 mph (105 kph) along a dark, two-lane road south of Fort Worth when it barrelled into a disabled vehicle and a group of people who had stopped to help the stranded motorist.

Couch was 16 at the time. His blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit for an adult and there were traces of Valium in his system.

Among the dead were a youth pastor and a woman and her daughter. Twelve others were hurt, including two critically injured teens who were among seven people riding in Couch's pickup.

One of the attorneys, Reagan Wynn, did not return a call for comment Wednesday.

In the months after the wreck, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst asked the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice to review how probation sentences are issued in adult and juvenile cases of intoxication manslaughter.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Woman who ran over pregnant sister twice, killing her, gets life in prison

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A Little Grand Rapids woman who ran over her pregnant sister two times with a truck, killing her, has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 12 years. A jury convicted Pandora Owens last spring of second-degree murder in the June 2013 killing of 22-year-old Madison McKay. Source
  • Parents of girl charged in 'Slender Man' stabbing speak out

    World News CTV News
    MILWAUKEE - The parents of one of two Wisconsin girls who were 12 when they allegedly stabbed another girl 19 times to impress the fictional internet character "Slender Man" say they were as shocked as anyone by the 2014 attack. Source
  • Former professor sues over explicit photo posted to Twitter

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    HALIFAX — A former Halifax professor who resigned after saying he had a sexual relationship with a student has filed a lawsuit over a nude photo of his genitals that was posted to Twitter. Michael Kydd is seeking $1 million in damages from Twitter, CTV’s owner Bell Media, his former employer Mount Saint Vincent University and the woman with whom he says he had an affair. Source
  • Alberta pipeline vandals cause $500,000 in damage

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The Canadian Press First posted: Monday, January 16, 2017 05:35 PM EST | Updated: Monday, January 16, 2017 06:58 PM EST Source
  • RCMP say someone did $500K damage to a pipeline in Alberta

    Canada News CTV News
    HYTHE, Alta. -- Mounties are investigating after a pipeline in northwestern Alberta was vandalized, causing more than $500,000 damage. Const. Michelle Mosher says an employee with a construction crew reported the vandalism from the site north of Hythe on Sunday morning. Source
  • Toronto bouncer among dead in Mexico nightclub shooting [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    CANCUN, Mexico — Two Canadians are among five people killed today in a shooting attack at an electronic music festival in Mexico’s Caribbean coast resort of Playa del Carmen. And the Canadian government says at least two Canadians were among the injured in the same attack. Source
  • Crown tells jury Douglas Garland held a longtime grudge before triple slaying

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    It was a years' long grudge against Alvin Liknes over a pump design which led Douglas Garland to plot what ended in a triple-homicide, a prosecutor said Monday. Crown lawyer Vicki Faulkner told a Calgary jury Garland stewed over the fact Liknes patented the pump -- "a pump that never made anybody famous. Source
  • Supremacist group distributes racist pamphlets for U.S.holiday

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — Police in Abbotsford, B.C., aren’t sure if they’re dealing with a growing white supremacist problem or if a few “small-minded” people are behind the distribution of a pamphlet disparaging a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. Source
  • Supremacist group distributes racist pamphlets for U.S. King Jr. holiday

    Canada News CTV News
    ABBOTSFORD, B.C. -- Police in Abbotsford, B.C., aren't sure if they're dealing with a growing white supremacist problem or if a few "small-minded" people are behind the distribution of a pamphlet disparaging a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. Source
  • Supremacist group distributes racist pamphlets in B.C. for U.S. King Jr. holiday

    Canada News CTV News
    ABBOTSFORD, B.C. -- Police in Abbotsford, B.C., aren't sure if they're dealing with a growing white supremacist problem or if a few "small-minded" people are behind the distribution of a pamphlet disparaging a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. Source