Texas Teenager Appears In Court After Being Deported From Mexico

| by Jordan Smith
Relatives Of Victims At Couch HearingRelatives Of Victims At Couch Hearing

Ethan Couch, who fled with his mother to Mexico last month after being caught allegedly breaking his probation terms, appeared in a Texas court Jan. 29.

The 18-year-old returned to the U.S. Jan. 28 after agreeing to give up an appeal against his deportation from Mexico, NBC 5 reported.

Couch was sentenced to 10 years probation in December 2013 after causing the deaths of four people in a car crash while he was driving under the influence. The judge spared Couch from prison time following testimony from a psychiatrist claiming that the teenager had “affluenza,” a condition where he was so spoilt by his parents he didn’t know right from wrong.

But since Couch violated his probation, the prosecution is pushing for him to serve probation as an adult.

“We are requesting he be transferred because he is no longer a child,” said Richard Alpert, an assistant district attorney in Tarrant County, according to Daily Mail. “The judge did not close the door on that. He is taking his time to consider it. It's in his hands.”

If Couch is transferred to the adult probation system, he could face up to 40 years in prison for any future violation. That's 10 years for each death caused in the 2013 crash.

Relatives of the victims were present in court Jan. 29 for Couch’s hearing.

“I don't want to see Ethan Couch's life ruined,' said Tim McLaughlin, the father of a 13-year-old victim in the crash. “I don't want to see him go to jail for life, but I do want to see him do time because he needs that kind of reality check.”

Couch fled to Mexico in December after a video posted online appeared to show him playing beer pong at a party. A condition of his probation was that he avoid alcohol.

Police tracked him and his mother down Dec. 28 when a cell phone was used to order a pizza.

Couch initially planned to challenge the deportation back to the U.S., but changed his mind Jan. 25.

“I gave him several options, but he decided to go to Texas to face whatever charges he faces,” Fernando Benitez, the teenager’s attorney in Mexico, told NBC 5.

For now, Couch is being held in juvenile detention. A hearing set for Feb. 19 will determine whether he is transferred to an adult jail.

Sources: NBC 5, Daily Mail / photo credit: Dallas Morning News

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