Texas teen Ethan Couch sentenced to probation for killing four, injuring two while driving drunk

By Daniel S Levine,

Ethan Couch, a wealthy 16-year-old, killed four people and injured two others while driving drunk last June. He could have received up to 20 years in prison, as prosecutors had hoped. But a Texas juvenile court judge shocked the victims’ families when he sentenced Couch to just a decade of probation.

Judge Jean Boyd did agree that Couch was responsible for the victims’ deaths, but, according to WFAA, she didn’t think that he would get the therapy he needs in jail. Instead, she gave him 10 years of probation.

CBSDFW reports that during the trial, prosecutors had evidence that showed that Couch and his friends stole beer from an area Walmart the night of the crash. They got back into his truck after drinking the beer to go to another store. On the way, they hit four pedestrians, who were killed. Two teens riding in the truck were also injured. The victims were youth pastor Brian Jennings, Hollie and Shelby Boyles, and Breanna Mitchell.

However, Couch’s attorneys put the blame on how his parents raised him and a psychologist claimed he had “affluenza.” The psychologist added that Couch had been allowed to drink since he was 13 and that he needed treatment. Boyd agreed.

Several members of the victims’ families told WFAA that they could not believe the sentence. “He'll be feeling the hand of God, definitely," Marla Mitchell, Breanna’s mother, said. "He may think he got away with something, but he hasn't gotten away with anything."

According to CBSDFW, Couch will remain in juvenile detention until the judge finds the right place for him to receive treatment.


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