The boy diagnosed with “affluenza”, the mental illness that affects children of the wealthy causing them to misbehave and not suffer consequences, was let off yet again for the murder of 4 people.
A judge has again decided to give no jail time to a Texas teenager who was responsible for a drunk driving crash that killed four people.
Ethan Couch was given 10 years’ probation for the wreck last year that also severely injured two people. But he was back in court Wednesday after prosecutors requested jail time on charges related to the two people who were injured.
Judge Jean Boyd issued the original sentence and made Wednesday’s ruling. The original sentence stirred fierce debate, as a defense expert said Couch’s wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility. The expert termed the condition ‘affluenza.’ Prosecutors made one last ditch effort to put the 16-year-old behind bars in the intoxication assault cases.
The fatal accident occurred around 11:45pm on June 15, Couch and a group his friends who were all drunk, got into a red Ford F350 pick-up and were speeding 70 mph in a 40 mph zone when the truck left the road. As it careered out of control, it clipped a broken down SUV, throwing the owner and four good Samaritans, who were trying to help, 60 yards in the air. Youth pastor Brian Jennings, mother and daughter Hollie and Shelby Boyles and 24-year-old Breanna Mitchell were all killed on impact.
It was revealed soon after that Couch’s blood-alcohol level was 0.24 – three times the adult limit, though minors aren’t allowed any alcohol in their system – and that he was also on the prescription drug Valium when he started the chain reaction of crashes. The impact flung the four people 50 to 60 yards, authorities reported.
A psychologist called by the defense, Dr Gary Miller, blamed the teen’s behavior on his parents, claiming they gave him whatever he wanted including ‘freedoms no young person should have.’
Dr Miller called Couch a product of ‘affluenza,’ where his family felt their wealth bought privilege and there was no rational link between behavior and consequences. He added that the boy had an ‘intellectual age’ of 18 but an ‘emotional age’ of 12. ‘The teen never learned to say that you’re sorry if you hurt someone,’ Dr Miller said, according to the Star Telegram. ‘If you hurt someone, you sent him money.’
State District Judge Jean Boyd appeared to agree with the defense.
She told the teen that he is responsible for what happened, but she said she didn’t believe he would receive the therapy he needed in jail. If he violates the terms of his probation, he could be sent to prison for 10 years. Judge Jean Boyd, who awarded the remarkably lenient sentence to Couch in the controversial case, is facing continued calls to be removed from her position.
If you ask me, since the parents afflicted their son with this terrible “illness”, they should be fined and punished for the murders at the hands of their son and serve time in prison for creating such a beast.