Judge: Ethan Couch to remain in jail
FORT WORTH - Three days after turning 19, Ethan Couch got a bitter taste of justice in adult court Wednesday morning. The “affluenza” teen who was convicted of killing four people in a 2013 drunk driving crash could be in jail much longer than he expected.“He’s an adult. He should be treated like one,” prosecutor Lloyd Welchel told District Judge Wayne Salvant.
“I don’t think there’s any question about that,” the judge replied.
But there are plenty of other questions about how law applies to this unusual case. The defense and prosecution disagree over the correct statute to be used.
Ethan Couch was convicted of killing Hollie Boyles, Shelby Boyles, Breanna Mitchell and Brian Jennings in a June 2013 drunk driving crash. (Photo: WFAA)
Prosecutors argue the judge is required give Couch at least 120 days confinement as a condition of probation. Defense attorneys contend the law doesn’t require any mandatory jail time, and that the maximum would be 180 days if the judge decides it’s appropriate.
“Under the law, he has not been convicted of a felony; he is an adjudicated delinquent,” defense attorney Reagan Wynn told the judge. “This is a strange hybrid beast.”
All sides agree it is a “strange hybrid” case involving both juvenile and adult jurisdiction. But prosecutors say Couch is a convicted felon, and they transferred his juvenile case as four separate felony charges – one for each victim Couch killed while driving drunk. Defense attorneys object to that, too.
The judge sided with prosecutors. Salvant gave Couch 180 days for each of the four counts, and ordered them to be served consecutively.
That’s another two years in jail before he can be released to finish his probation.
Quite a bargain, serving 180 days each for killing four people. :mad: