Texas Teen, 4 DUI Deaths: 'Too Rich to Know Right From Wrong'?

A Texas judge sentenced a schoolboy to 10 years probation and in-patient rehab in Orange County for a DUI crash that killed four people. You won't believe his defense.

Ethan Couch, 16, sentenced to 10 years probation and a stint in a Newport Beach rehab facility. Photo/AOL.com)
Ethan Couch, 16, sentenced to 10 years probation and a stint in a Newport Beach rehab facility. Photo/AOL.com)
A Texas teenager escaped prison and was instead sentenced to 10 years probation, plus a stay at a Newport Beach rehab facility, for a drunken driving crash that killed four people after his defense argued he was too rich to know right from wrong, media outlets reported this week.

Ethan Couch, 16, was sentenced by Texas Judge Jean Boyd on Tuesday following a psychologist's testimony that Couch was a product of "affluenza," a condition in which "his family felt that wealth bought privilege and there was no rational link between behavior and consequences," KHOU reported.

Couch's defense team provided Boyd with examples of his lack of punishment from his parents prior to sentencing. For example, when Couch was 15 police found him passed out in a parked car with an underage girl who was naked, yet he suffered no consequences.

Authorities said the deadly crash occurred in summer when Couch was driving his father's Ford F-350 pickup truck at 70 miles per hour in a 40 mph zone and reportedly lost control of the car. According to Slate.com, the crash claimed the lives of Breanna Mitchell, 24, whose car was broken down on the side of the road, Hollie Boyles and her 21-year-old daughter Shelby, who lived nearby and were helping Mitchell with her car troubles, and youth pastor and good samaritan Brian Jennings.

Two of Couch's passengers were also seriously injured in the crash.

Texas police said Couch's blood alcohol level was .24, or three times the legal limit for an adult at the time of the deadly crash, and traces of Valium were also found in his system. Prosecutors had asked that Couch serve 20 years in prison.

Last week Couch pleaded guilty last week to four counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault causing serious bodily injury.

"Money always seems to keep [the kid] out of trouble," Eric Boyles, whose wife and daughter were killed in the crash, told Slate.com. "Ultimately today, I felt that money did prevail. If [he] had been any other youth, I feel like the circumstances would have been different."

Couch is expected to check into an in-patient rehabilitation facility near Newport Beach, which will reportedly cost his parents $450,000-a-year.

TELL US IN THE COMMENTS: What do you think about Ethan Couch's sentence? Was justice served?
Rebecca Goddard December 13, 2013 at 08:47 PM
Hopefully there is a special place in hell for the judge, defense attorney, and parents of this rabid animal. There are no words to explain how gross this is.
Ken Lopez Maddox December 15, 2013 at 09:22 AM
There are two justice systems. One for the wealthy and one for the poor. Minorities get the worst of the one for the poor. You can bet your bottom dollar had he been a minority he would not be spending his sentence in Newport Beach rehabilitated with massages, horseback rides and yoga.


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