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Saturday, June 22, 2024 | Back issues
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‘Affluenza’ Killer Back in Jail on Probation Violation

“Affluenza” killer Ethan Couch is back in a Texas jail Thursday on claims of a failed drug test, two years after he was released for fleeing to Mexico with his mother from an earlier parole violation.

FORT WORTH, Texas (CN) – “Affluenza” killer Ethan Couch was back in a Texas jail Thursday on claims of a failed drug test, two years after he was released for fleeing to Mexico with his mother from an earlier parole violation.

Couch, 22, of Fort Worth, was held without bond, according to jail records. His warrant states he tested positive for THC, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana.

He is on probation for killing mother and daughter Hollie and Shelby Boyles, youth pastor Brian Jennings and Breanna Mitchell in a drunken driving collision in 2013 while he was a juvenile. Several more people were seriously injured.

Couch was speeding at up to 70 mph in a 40 mph zone and his blood-alcohol content was at 0.24 at the time of the wreck – three times the legal limit for those legally able to drink. He was 16 years old at the time.

He made headlines in his juvenile case when a defense psychologist testified he was the product of “affluenza” because his family felt their wealth bought privilege and that there was no rational connection between behavior and consequences. The victims’ families and the public were outraged when Couch was only sentenced to probation.

Dr. G. Dick Miller testified Couch’s parents failed to punish the boy after he was ticketed by police after being found with an undressed and passed out 14-year-old girl in his truck. He testified that Couch was allowed to drive when he was 13 years old.

Couch was roundly denounced in 2015 when video on social media emerged showing the teenager at a beer pong game. He then failed to report for probation and escaped to Puerto Vallarta with his mother, where they were on the run for two weeks before being arrested and brought back to Fort Worth.

An adult court then sentenced him to an additional 180 days in jail for each of the people he killed, the maximum sentence allowed under the conditions of his parole. He was released two years ago and given six more years of probation.

Couch was held for 24 hours before being released Friday afternoon. Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson decided to drop the matter due to probation officials lacking confidence in the “weak positive” result on Couch’s substance abuse patch.

“Until final testing, we cannot tell if the patch result was actually THC,” Wilson said in a statement. “We cannot tell whether the ‘weak positive’ was caused by legal CBD oil or illegal marijuana.”

Couch is required to wear an alcohol monitor and must stay home between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. every day. He must also subject himself to monitoring by a substance abuse patch and drug testing and is banned from driving a car without camera-equipped ignition locks, according to a court filing.

Follow @davejourno
Categories / Criminal, Regional

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