‘Affluenza’ Killer Couch Deported Back to Texas

FORT WORTH (CN) – “Affluenza” killer Ethan Couch was led away in handcuffs from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Thursday after being deported from Mexico.
     Couch, 18, dropped his fight against deportation on Wednesday and was placed on an AeroMexico flight Thursday morning at Mexico City International Airport.
     He was met at the Dallas airport by federal marshals. He said nothing as marshals led him away, in a black and gray hooded sweatshirt and jeans.
     Couch dropped his deportation fight after a hearing was delayed last week over whether to transfer his case from juvenile to adult court. He is expected to be held at a Tarrant County juvenile facility until the rescheduled Feb. 19 hearing. He was to appear at a detention hearing on Friday, Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said.
     “Thanks for all the hard work to make this happen,” the sheriff tweeted on Thursday. “Let’s move forward with justice.”
     The sheriff said the deportation flight went smoothly and arrived early.
     “The flight from Mexico City was uneventful, as far as we can tell,” Anderson told reporters outside the juvenile facility. “We had some of our deputies meet the federal marshals at DFW. They had to clear immigration and Customs, which went very quickly.”
     Couch was booked into the juvenile facility “without incident,” he said.
     Couch made headlines in 2013 when he was sentenced to probation and therapy after killing four people and injuring nine while driving drunk on stolen beer.
     A defense psychologist testified at trial that Couch, then 16, was the product of “ affluenza :” that his family believed wealth bought privilege and there was no rational link between behavior and consequences.
     Couch and his mother Tonya, 48, were arrested in Puerto Vallarta in December after being on the run for two weeks. They fled to Mexico after a 6-second video posted on Twitter appeared to show Couch at a beer pong game. He is prohibited from drinking alcohol during his 10 years of probation.
     Couch’s mother was deported within days after her arrest and is free on $75,000 bail. She faces a third-degree felony count of hindering apprehension and up to 10 years in state prison if convicted.
     Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson said in December that Couch will face at most a few months in a juvenile facility, until his 19th birthday in April, because his case is still in juvenile court under an “anomaly of Texas law.”
     Mothers Against Drunk Driving has collected more than 45,000 signatures in an online petition asking for his case to be moved to adult court. MADD said its member will attend the Friday hearing.
     “We must ensure Couch gets prison,” MADD President Colleen Sheehey-Church said.

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