'Affluenza' Teen Killer of 4 in DUI Crash Avoids Jail Yet Again

Thursday, 06 Feb 2014 10:23 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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Ethan Couch, the Texas teen who drove drunk and killed four people over the summer, avoided jail time yet again this week when a judge ordered him to enter a residential treatment facility — a decision she said had nothing to do with the claim that Couch is a victim of "affluenza."

The 16-year-old was sentenced to 10 years of probation in December for four counts of intoxication manslaughter stemming from a June car crash. With a blood alcohol content of 0.24 — three times the legal limit — Couch reportedly stole beer from a Wal-Mart and then crashed his speeding pickup truck into a group of people standing on the side of the road in Fort Worth.

Prosecutors had lobbied for the 20-year maximum prison sentence but the judge sided with the defense, which argued that Couch was the victim of affluenza, or wealthy parents who gave him "freedoms no young person should have."

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The December sentencing did not address two separate counts of intoxication assault, which were handled Wednesday.

According to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, Judge Jean Boyd ruled that Couch not receive any additional punishment and instead enter a lock-down residential treatment facility to be paid for by his parents. Boyd set no minimum time for Couch to stay in treatment, but said once he is out he cannot drive, drink alcohol, or use drugs for the entirety of his 10 years' probation.

Many of the victims' family members have spoken out publicly about their disappointment over Couch's sentencing.

"There are absolutely no consequences for what occurred that day. The primary message has to absolutely be that money and privilege can't buy justice in this country," Eric Boyles, who lost his wife and daughter in the crash, told CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" in December. "For 25 weeks, I've been going through a healing process. And so when the verdict came out, I mean, my immediate reaction is — I'm back to week one. We have accomplished nothing here. My healing process is out the window."

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