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Ethan Couch gets probation with 'affluenza' defense after crash kills 4

December 12, 2013 8:01:43 AM PST
A Texas teen has been given probation and counseling -- but no jail time -- for a crash that killed four people in June. The victims' families are stunned.

"I'll always cherish memories that we had," said Eric Boyles, father and husband of victims. "Today, those memories are painful because it brings you to the situation that they're not here today."

An alleged alcohol-fueled joyride ultimately led to four people being killed. The 16-year-old behind the wheel, Ethan Couch, won't be serving a single day in jail.

"He may think he has gotten away with something, but he hasn't gotten away with anything," said Marla Mitchell, mother of victim.

Instead of the 20-year sentence Texas prosecutors were hoping for, late Tuesday, juvenile court Judge Joan Boyd gave Couch 10 years probation.

The teen pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter. His blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit, and he was driving almost twice the speed limit when he crashed his dad's Ford pickup into the victims.

This week, Couch's defense argued he suffers from affluenza, that his parents are responsible for the horrific accident because they raised him in a family so wealthy, so privileged that the teen didn't realize his actions would have consequences.

"Taking him away from his family and teaching him to be a responsible citizen, that is a consequence," said Scott Brow, Ethan Couch's defense attorney.

Now, Couch will check into a half-a-million dollar rehab program in California. Dad and mom will foot the bill. He's not allowed to see them for two years.

The victims' families argue they'll never see the loved ones he took away.

"My wife and daughter are gone, and there's no consequences to the individual to which that occurred," Boyles said.

The crash also left two people severely injured.

"My immediate reaction is I'm back to week one. We have accomplished nothing here. My healing process is out the window," Boyles said.

The crash happened on June 15 on a rural road in Fort Worth.


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