Judge Rejects Affluenza Killer’s Appeal of Sentence

     FORT WORTH (CN) – A Texas judge Wednesday denied “affluenza” killer Ethan Couch’s appeal of a two-year jail sentence for violating terms of his juvenile probation by running away to Mexico.
     Tarrant County Judge Wayne Salvant wrote he “did not wish the modify” the maximum sentence he imposed in April when he gave Couch 180 days in jail for each of the four people he killed while driving drunk as a juvenile. Couch’s case was transferred from juvenile court to Salvant’s court — Criminal District Court No. 2 in Tarrant County — when he turned 19 in April.
     Couch became famous in 2013 when Tarrant County 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.
     Boyd apparently was persuaded by defense expert testimony that Couch suffered from “affluenza” by being spoiled by his wealthy parents.
     Couch and his mother Tonya, 48, fled to Mexico last year after a video was posted on Twitter that appeared to show Couch at a beer pong game. Couch was banned from drinking alcohol under terms of his probation.
     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.
     Mothers Against Drunk Driving praised Salvant’s ruling, calling it a “small victory” after “years of heartbreak” for the victims’ families.
     “But we can never say that we won. No one ever wins in drunk driving crashes,” MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church said. “No one can win when someone kills or injuries innocent people.”
     Earlier Wednesday, MADD urged the judge to “stand behind” his 720-day jail sentence and reject Couch’s appeal.
     “Taking away even one day would be an insult and a slap in the face to the victims and survivors,” Sheehey-Church said in a statement. “To order 720 days and then take it back, you’d take back the small glimpse of peace they received knowing that Couch will spend time behind bars and not on the streets.”

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