The Texas teenager who was derided for an “affluenza” defense for killing four people while driving drunk has been transferred to an adult jail on Friday from the juvenile center where he has been held for more than a week, online jail records showed.
Ethan Couch, 18, had been held at the juvenile detention center in Fort Worth, Texas, since he was deported from Mexico at the end of January. He was in custody at an adult jail in Tarrant County, online records showed.
Couch, 18, fled to Mexico in December with his mother after apparently violating the probation deal reached in juvenile court that kept him out of prison for killing the four people in 2013.
The move to an adult jail opens up the possibility of Couch being released on bond, an option not available to him in juvenile detention, legal officials said.
No bond amount was listed on his online jail records. The move came as a result of a judge’s order, law enforcement officials said.
Couch was 16 when he was tried as a juvenile. He gained notoriety when a psychiatrist testifying on his behalf said he had “affluenza,” arguing his family’s wealth had left him so spoiled that it impaired his ability to tell right from wrong.
The affluenza diagnosis, not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, was widely ridiculed.
His mother, Tonya Couch, faces up to 10 years in prison for helping her son flee to Mexico.
(Reporting by Marice Richter; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler and Lisa Shumaker)