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‘Affluenza Teen’ Convicted of Killing Four While Driving Drunk Released from Prison

The Associated Press
AP Photo/LM Otero

Ethan Couch, the Texas teenager whom a psychologist said suffered from “affluenza,” was released from a Texas jail Monday morning.

Officials released Couch from the Tarrant County Detention Center around 9 a.m. CDT and then transported him to the county’s adult probation office, where he was fitted with an ankle monitor before he left the building with his attorney around 11:30 a.m. CDT, Fox 26 Houston reported.

The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that Couch was released just days before he will turn 21 years old and will be under strict supervision as he serves his probation.

Under the terms of his probation, Couch will be required to wear a monitoring device around his ankle and a patch that detects alcohol. He would also be required to undergo regular drug testing, have an ignition device installed in his car to detect alcohol, and follow a 9 p.m. curfew.

Couch became infamous after his lawyers argued that he could not tell the difference between right and wrong due to his wealthy upbringing, and could not be held responsible for his actions.

Couch, who was 16-years-old at the time of his crime, struck and killed four people with his pickup truck and had a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit for adult drivers in the state of Texas.

The 20-year-old earned the nickname as the “affluenza teen” after a psychologist testified on his behalf that could not fully accept responsibility for his actions because he suffered from “affluenza.”

A judge then sentenced Couch to ten years of probation, causing outrage among the public. When a video surfaced of Couch playing beer pong in 2015, a judge found that he violated the terms of his probation and sentenced him to 720 days in jail—180 days for each of the four victims.

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers issued a statement calling Couch’s release “a grave injustice” to the victims of the crash.

“He killed four people. I mean, these people were on the side of the road helping others. It was a grave injustice,” said Colleen Sheehey-Church, the national president of MADD. “Unfortunately, watching this particular young man was very tough to watch because there was no remorse.”

Couch’s attorneys issued a statement asking for privacy for their client, adding that he “accepted responsibility for his actions and felt true remorse for the terrible consequences for those actions.”

Last week, authorities arrested Couch’s mother, who is free on bond as she awaits trial for helping her son escape to Mexico in 2015, for violating the terms of her release.


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