FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – A Texas judge says the case of a teenager who used an “affluenza” defense in a fatal drunken-driving wreck will be moved to adult court.
Ethan Couch was 16 at the time of the 2013 crash that killed four people near Fort Worth. During his juvenile trial, a defense expert invoked the term “affluenza” while arguing Couch’s wealthy parents had coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility.
The Friday ruling means the 18-year-old could face 120 days in jail, then finish his 10-year probation. If he violates his probation during that time, he could get up to 10 years in prison for each crash victim.
Couch and his mother disappeared in December, as prosecutors investigated whether he’d violated his probation. They were later found in Mexico and deported.