'Affluenza' teen's mom posts bond, release expected Tuesday

FORT WORTH, Texas - The mother of a Texas teenager who used an "affluenza" defence for a deadly wreck is expected to leave jail soon after a judge on Monday sharply reduced her bond.

See Full Article

Tonya Couch's bond was lowered from $1 million to $75,000. Couch posted the bond and will be released Tuesday morning "barring any unseen delays" after being fitted with a GPS monitor, Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said in a tweet posted late Monday night.

Couch will be required to wear the electronic ankle monitor and remain at the home of her 29-year-old son Steven McWilliams, except for appointments with her doctor and lawyer.

"I want her at her son's home, and that's where I want her to stay," said State District Judge Wayne Salvant, who also ordered Couch to pay nearly $3,200 in restitution to the sheriff's office for the cost of transporting her back to Texas from Los Angeles.

The 48-year-old woman is charged with hindering the apprehension of a felon after she and her son, Ethan Couch, were caught in a Mexican resort city. Ethan, 18, killed four people in a 2013 crash and was facing allegations that he violated his probation.

Authorities say Tonya Couch took $30,000 and fled with Ethan to Mexico out of fear that her son would be put behind bars for violating his probation. The two were caught Dec. 28 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Tonya Couch was brought back to Texas last week after first being taken to Los Angeles. Ethan Couch remains in a Mexico City detention facility, where he is contesting his extradition.

Salvant said he understood prosecutors' concerns that Couch might flee again, but that the charge against her, while a third-degree felony, wasn't serious enough to merit a $1 million bond.

One of her attorneys, Stephanie Patten, said afterward that she wasn't sure if Tonya Couch would be able to post bond.

Ethan Couch was 16 and driving at three times the legal intoxication limit for adult drivers when he rammed a pickup truck into a crowd of people trying to help stranded motorists on the side of a North Texas road. Four people were killed in the June 2013 wreck.

A juvenile court judge gave the teen 10 years' probation, outraging prosecutors who had called for him to face detention time. The case drew widespread derision after an expert called by Ethan Couch's lawyers argued he had been coddled into a sense of irresponsibility by his wealthy parents, a condition the expert called "affluenza."

Despite all of the previous testimony about the teen's wealthy upbringing, his mother's attorneys argued she had few assets to her own name and couldn't pay the cost of a $1 million bond.

McWilliams testified Monday that his mother's bank account had been frozen by a court order and he wasn't able to access it. He also told a prosecutor upon questioning that he wouldn't have been surprised to have seen $100,000 from the sale of a house in the account.

Tonya Couch is separated from Fred Couch, Ethan's father, who owns a suburban Fort Worth business that does large-scale metal roofing. According to an arrest warrant, Tonya Couch is accused of telling Fred Couch that he would never see her or Ethan again before fleeing.

McWilliams testified that Fred Couch was "fairly adamant" he wasn't going to give her money.

Tarrant County criminal investigator Darran Gabbert testified Monday that Tonya and Ethan Couch had a "planning meeting" with several other people before leaving for Mexico. One person at that meeting was a teen who was in Ethan Couch's truck at the time of the crash, Gabbert said.

Gabbert said that teen's attorney had contacted him to say the teen had Ethan Couch's driver's license and a credit card. The teen didn't have his own ID, however, Gabbert said.

Tonya and Ethan Couch were found a few weeks after disappearing. Authorities say they were able to track them after the two ordered a pizza.

A Texas magistrate on Friday signed an order to examine Tonya Couch for "mental illness and mental retardation." The order said the court determined there was reasonable cause to believe she "has a mental illness or is a person with a mental retardation."

-----

Associated Press writer Nomaan Merchant in Dallas contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Taliban announce start of spring offensive in Afghanistan

    World News CTV News
    ISLAMABAD - Afghanistan's Taliban announced the start of their spring offensive Friday, promising to build their political base in the country while focusing military assaults on coalition and Afghan security forces. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid announced the launch of the offensive in an email statement that boasted Taliban control over more than half of the country, referencing a February report issued by Washington's special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction. Source
  • Trump to sign order aimed at expanding offshore drilling

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Working to dismantle his predecessor's environmental legacy, President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order Friday that could lead to the expansion of drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. With one day left to rack up accomplishments before he reaches his 100th day in office, Trump will order his interior secretary to review an Obama-era plan that dictates which locations are open to offshore drilling, with the goal of the new administration to expand…
  • Sagkeeng First Nation holds vigil for Serena McKay

    Canada News CTV News
    Members of Sagkeeng First Nation in northern Manitoba gathered around a sacred fire on Thursday to mark the loss of yet another woman to violence. Serena McKay, 19, was found dead on Sunday. Two teens girls, ages 16 and 17, have been charged with second-degree murder. Source
  • TTC pulls bendy buses off the road over safety concerns

    Canada News CBC News
    The Toronto Transit Commission is grounding its entire fleet of articulated buses after maintenance staff experienced a "full throttle," or unexpected acceleration, during routine maintenance Thursday afternoon. The TTC says 153 of the 60-foot so-called bendy buses are now off the road. Source
  • Autistic man eating free cookies pepper-sprayed: Cops

    World News Toronto Sun
    ROSEVILLE, Minn. — A former security guard faces charges after allegedly pepper-spraying an autistic man who was eating free cookies at a Minnesota grocery store. Timothy Knutsen of St. Paul is charged with two misdemeanour counts of fifth-degree assault and disorderly conduct for the March incident at a Cub Foods in Roseville. Source
  • Star Trek inspired licence plate deemed offensive in Manitoba

    Canada News CTV News
    Manitoba’s public insurance company has revoked a Star Trek inspired custom licence plate after receiving complaints that it’s offensive. Nick Troller’s two-year-old plate reads “ASIMIL8.” Troller keeps it inside a licence plate holder that says: “WE ARE THE BORG. Source
  • Customer pepper-sprays man with autism for eating cookies: police

    World News CTV News
    ROSEVILLE, Minn. -- A former security guard faces charges after allegedly pepper-spraying an autistic man who was eating free cookies at a Minnesota grocery store. Timothy Knutsen of St. Paul is charged with two misdemeanour counts of fifth-degree assault and disorderly conduct for the March incident at a Cub Foods in Roseville. Source
  • $300K posh public potty pops up in New York [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — In a park amid skyscrapers, a gem has emerged: a posh public bathroom that cost nearly $300,000, complete with freshly delivered flowers, imported tiles, classical music and artwork. The free-of-charge, air-conditioned splendor, inspired by visits to the city’s priciest hotels, is open to everyone. Source
  • More needs to be done to ensure workplace safety: Advocate [Video]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Too many young people don’t know their rights, which is contributing to thousands of work-related injuries and tragedies, an advocate says. Rob Ellis, of My Safe Workplace, said Thursday that last year 125,000 Canadians, ages 15-20, were hurt on the job. Source
  • Carson Morin trial: Accused murderer's criminal past revealed in court

    Canada News CBC News
    The Ottawa man on trial for murder in the fatal stabbing of 20 year-old Michael Wassill was once convicted of a brutal assault on another man with a baseball bat that put the victim in hospital with a concussion. Source