‘Affluenza’ Mom Accused of Violating Bond with Gun

Deadly Wreck Affluenza
AP Pool Photo: David Kent/Star-Telegram

Prosecutors say they have another reason why the court should revoke the bond of “affluenza” mom Tonya Couch, filing a motion Tuesday which alleges she possessed a gun, making this the second purported violation.

This follows a motion filed on June 20 by the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office in which they sought to revoke Couch’s bond, accusing her of violating its terms by consuming alcoholic beverages, as Breitbart Texas reported.

The latest filing purports that Couch, 50, was in possession of a gun on June 24. Prosecutors also amended the date of the alleged alcohol violation in the last motion from June 16 to May 20, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. If either allegation proves true, it would violate the conditions of her bond.

Couch is the mother of “affluenza” teen Ethan Couch. In 2013, then 16-years-old, he drove drunk and killed four people in a Fort Worth area car wreck. In the subsequent high-profile trial, his attorneys attributed such reckless behavior to “affluenza,” an inability to distinguish right from wrong because of a coddled, affluent upbringing. The prosecution sought 20 years in prison, but a lenient juvenile judge gave the teen a 10 year probation sentence, rehab, and counseling.

The elder Couch faces money laundering charges for allegedly withdrawing $30,000 from a personal bank account weeks before she and her son fled to Mexico in late 2015. Officials also charged her with hindering the apprehension of a felon, her son Ethan. This third degree felony carries a two to 10 year prison sentence.

On Tuesday, prosecutors asked the court to revoke Couch’s bond, remanding her into custody until her trial, scheduled to begin on October 2. They also requested this in last week’s motion.

The Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office and Couch’s attorneys did not comment on these allegations that she violated her bond. Last year, State District Judge Wayne Salvant, who presides over both Couch cases, placed a gag order on all parties involved in the cases.

Tonya Couch’s legal woes trace back to December 2015 when authorities believed Ethan violated the terms of his probation, which forbade the consumption of alcoholic beverages. A video surfaced online that appeared to show him at a party where teens played beer pong. He also missed a meeting with his probation officer. Mother and son then vanished. Officials suspected Tonya helped Ethan flee the country. Once found in Puerto Vallarta, Mexican authorities deported the pair back to Texas.

Since then, Ethan’s case transferred to the adult court system once he turned 19 in April 2016. Salvant ordered the teen to spend 720 days in jail, 180 days for each of the four people killed in the accident. Now 20-years-old, Ethan continues to serve this sentence.

In January 2016, Salvant reduced Tonya Couch’s $1 million bail to $75,000. She bonded out of jail into the custody of her older son and Ethan’s half-brother. Originally, the judge placed her under house arrest where she had to wear a GPS ankle monitor and could only leave home for doctor visits and attorney appointments.

Breitbart Texas reported that Salvant relaxed the conditions of bond in August. Couch still had to wear the ankle monitor but could find a job to support herself while awaiting trial. The terms of her bond prohibited her to drink alcohol or use drugs, however, one condition changed to allow her to serve, but not drink alcohol, when Couch landed a short-lived bartending gig at a honky tonk saloon northwest of Fort Worth.

At the behest of prosecutors, Salvant later modified Couch’s bond, adding a condition that she not possess alcohol. He allowed her to remove the ankle monitor. Last November, the judge decided Couch would remain free on bond until her trial.

Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter.


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