FORT WORTH, Texas (CN) – A Texas judge on Wednesday sentenced “affluenza” killer Ethan Couch to two years in Tarrant County jail — 180 days for each of the four people he killed while driving drunk as a juvenile.
Judge Wayne Salvant gave Couch the maximum sentence allowed under the conditions of his parole. Couch’s case was transferred to Salvant from juvenile court on Monday when Couch turned 19 years old. The judge told Couch on Wednesday that he “is not getting out of jail today” at the packed hearing.
Dressed in a dark red inmate’s jumpsuit while fully bearded with shaggy hair, Couch did not react as he was sentenced.
Salvant told Couch the terms of his adult probation will be “consistent” with the terms of his juvenile probation, ordering him to abstain from drugs and alcohol, get a job and report to a probation officer upon his release.
Salvant told Couch’s attorneys and prosecutors they would have more time to give him recommendations on the sentence that he will finalize in two weeks.
Several of Couch’s relatives and the relatives of his victims declined to comment on the sentence after the hearing.
Couch made headlines in 2013 when former judge Jean Boyd sentenced him to 10 years probation and therapy after he drove into a crowd of people helping a stranded vehicle on the side of a road in Fort Worth.
Couch, then 16, was drunk on stolen beer when he killed mother and daughter Hollie and Shelby Boyles, youth pastor Brian Jennings and Breanna Mitchell.
Defense psychologist Dr. G. Dick Miller told Boyd at trial that Couch was a product of “affluenza” — that his family felt their wealth bought privilege and that there was no rational link between behavior and consequences. Couch had faced up to 20 years in state prison.
Couch sparked renewed outrage last year when he and his mother Tonya, 48, fled to Mexico after a video was posted on Twitter that showed someone who resembles Couch at a beer pong game. Couch was banned from drinking alcohol under the terms of his probation at the time.
Mother and son were arrested in Puerto Vallarta in December. Couch’s mother was deported days after her arrest. She 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.
Couch initially fought deportation to Texas but dropped his case in Mexican court and was deported on Jan. 29. He has remained in isolation since his return.
Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson told reporters Couch is being kept away from other inmates out of concern that “someone else would hurt him.” He said Couch has caused “zero issues” during his incarceration.
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