‘Affluenza’ teen Ethan Couch transferred to adult jail
FORT WORTH, Texas – Teenager Ethan Couch, convicted in a 2013 fatal drunken-driving crash, has been transferred from a juvenile to an adult jail, Tarrant County, Texas, Sheriff Dee Anderson said Friday.
A judge hasn’t decided if Couch, 18, will be prosecuted in adult or juvenile court for probation violation, Anderson said. A hearing on that question is scheduled for February 19.
A judge decided Friday to move Couch to the adult facility, Anderson said.
“The only change that was made in this order was his housing change,” the sheriff said. “We will house him as we do any adult prisoner except that he’s under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court.”
Anderson said Couch was soft-spoken and voiced no concerns.
“His demeanor and attitude were much the same as when I saw him at the juvenile detention center,” Anderson said. He said Couch was being housed in a single cell at the moment.
Couch’s attorney, Scott Brown, has said they will not fight a transfer of the case to adult court. Couch could be sentenced to 120 days in jail.
Couch disappeared in December, nearly two years into a 10-year probation stemming from the drunken-driving accident in which four people died. His mother also went missing.
They vanished after a video surfaced that appeared to show him at a party where alcohol was being served, a violation of his probation.
Authorities tracked Couch and his mother to Mexico, where they were detained last month. Couch was returned to the United States on January 28.
Couch’s case drew widespread attention after his attorneys argued the accident was partly to blame on what they said were indulgent parents who failed to set limits for the teenager, who was 16 at the time of the fatal crash.
A psychologist who testified on the teen’s behalf described the condition as “affluenza.”
Couch’s mother, Tonya Couch, is facing a separate investigation. She has been charged with hindering her son’s apprehension and is free on $75,000 bond, CNN affiliate KTVT-TV reported.
Ethan Couch is being held without bond. Anderson said another detention hearing, to determine whether Couch should remain in jail, is scheduled for February 12.
By Ralph Ellis, Michael Pearson and Ed Lavandera, CNN
CNN’s Greg Botelho and Jason Morris contributed to this report.