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Sunday, June 23, 2024 | Back issues
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Paroled ‘Affluenza’|Killer Investigated

FORT WORTH, Texas (CN) - Texas authorities confirmed Thursday they are investigating "affluenza" killer Ethan Couch for a possible probation violation after a Twitter user posted a video of him allegedly playing beer pong.

Couch, 18, was sentenced to probation and therapy for the 2013 drunk driving deaths of four people helping a stranded vehicle on the side of a road in south Fort Worth. Couch was 16 when he drove a truck that killed mother and daughter Hollie and Shelby Boyles, youth pastor Brian Jennings and Breanna Mitchell.

Authorities said Couch was driving up to 30 miles per hour over the speed limit and had a blood alcohol level of 0.24 - three times the legal limit for adults. It is illegal for a minor to drive with any alcohol level.

Defendant psychologist Dr. G. Dick Miller sparked national outrage when he testified at trial that Couch is the product of "affluenza," where his family allegedly felt wealth bought privilege and that there was no rational link between behavior and consequences. Miller testified that Couch's parents gave him "freedoms no young person should have."

The testimony apparently worked, as state District Judge Jean Boyd told Couch during sentencing she did not believe he would receive the therapy he needed in jail. Instead, she sent him for intensive one-on-one therapy in California that his father would pay $450,000 for.

Boyd later declined to impose a harsher sentence after the public backlash. Couch had faced up to 20 years in state prison.

On Wednesday, Twitter user @BlondeSpectre posted a 6-second video of at least four young men playing beer pong. An unidentified participant is smiling as he leaps onto a table while those around him are laughing and clapping. It is unclear which young man is Couch or if he is present in the video at all, as the video quality is poor and shaky.

"Ya boy Ethan Couch violating probation." the user tweeted. "I got more if u want."

The Tarrant County District Attorney's office confirmed Thursday that it is investigating the video and if a probation violation took place.

Couch is banned from using drugs, alcohol or driving under the terms of his probation. He faces up to 10 years in state prison if found to have committed a parole violation.

Tarrant County sheriff's spokesman Terry Grisham said Thursday Couch is "allowed due process at every level."

Cases "are not prosecuted or revoked or modified based on hearsay or based on a grainy video that we can't identify someone in," he told The Dallas Morning News.

In October, Couch's parents settled the last of several civil lawsuits filed against them by victims' families.

Follow @davejourno
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