'Affluenza' teen's mom posts bond, release expected with GPS monitor

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.

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 and he was allowed to seek treatment at a posh rehab centre, 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.

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.

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

  • Funeral to be held for St. Catharine's boy whose death led to murder charge

    Canada News CTV News
    THOROLD, Ont. - Funeral services will be held today for a seven-year-old boy who died last week in St. Catharines, Ont., leading to a murder charge against his stepfather. Nathan Dumas was rushed to hospital on Friday but died the next day. Source
  • Republicans set for risky health care vote after Trump demands it

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - Republicans have set course for a climactic House vote on their health care overhaul. Their decision came after U.S. President Donald Trump claimed he was finished negotiating with GOP holdouts and determined to move on to the rest of his agenda, win or lose. Source
  • Rachel Dolezal struggling after racial identity scandal

    World News CTV News
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A woman who rose to prominence as a black civil rights leader then lost her job when her parents exposed her as white is struggling to make a living these days. Rachel Dolezal said she has been unable to find steady work in the nearly two years since she was outed as a white woman in local media reports, and she is uncertain about her future. Source
  • Rachel Dolezal says she's struggling in wake of racial identity scandal

    World News CTV News
    SPOKANE, Wash. - A woman who rose to prominence as a black civil rights leader then lost her job when her parents exposed her as white is struggling to make a living these days. Rachel Dolezal said she has been unable to find steady work in the nearly two years since she was outed as a white woman in local media reports, and she is uncertain about her future. Source
  • Four found dead in Sacramento; one arrested in connection in San Francisco

    World News CTV News
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Police detained a suspect in San Francisco just hours after finding four bodies, including two children, in a home 128 kilometres away in Sacramento. The unidentified suspect, who was quickly singled out by investigators, was likely known by the victims, Sacramento police Sgt. Source
  • Laquan McDonald killing: Chicago police officer faces more charges

    World News CBC News
    A white Chicago police officer accused of murder in the shooting death of a black teenager was charged on Thursday with 16 new counts of aggravated battery, in a case that sparked national debate over police use of force against minorities. Source
  • Boston drummer Sib Hashian dies; The Rock pays tribute to him as '2nd dad'

    World News CBC News
    John (Sib) Hashian, former drummer for the arena rock band Boston, died on board a cruise ship Wednesday. He was 67. His son, Adam Hashian, said Thursday a cause of death had not yet been determined. Source
  • Lawsuits blaming Saudi Arabia for 9/11 get new life

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- For years, family members of those killed on Sept. 11 and insurance companies tried unsuccessfully through the courts to hold Saudi Arabia or businesses and organizations there responsible for the terrorist attacks. Source
  • Shooting rampage in Wisconsin began with domestic dispute

    World News CTV News
    WESTON, Wis. -- A man angry after a domestic dispute opened fire in a Wisconsin bank, killing two longtime employees, then killed an attorney at a nearby law firm and a detective trying to set a perimeter outside an apartment complex before he was finally captured, police said. Source
  • Complaint filed after B.C. judge makes comments about hearing sexual assault trial

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER - Comments attributed to a British Columbia judge about the number of days that should be allotted to hear a sexual assault case have led to a complaint to the Canadian Judicial Council, the province's attorney general said Thursday. Source