'Affluenza' teen back in Texas, taken to juvenile detention | Reuters - Firstpost
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'Affluenza' teen back in Texas, taken to juvenile detention | Reuters

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FORT WORTH, Texas/MEXICO CITY The American teenager derided for a defence of "affluenza" in the killing four people while driving drunk arrived back in Texas on Thursday after being deported from Mexico and was placed in juvenile detention.

After his flight landed, Ethan Couch, 18, was seen with his hands behind his back being escorted by uniformed officers through the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. He was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and had grown a beard.

He fled to Mexico in December along with his mother after a video emerged on social media that likely showed Couch in violation of the probation deal reached in juvenile court that kept him out of prison for causing the deadly crash in 2013.

A white sport utility vehicle with tinted windows carrying Couch arrived at a Tarrant County juvenile detention centre about an hour after his arrival at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport.

He faces a detention hearing on either Friday or Monday, at which a judge will determine whether to transfer the case from the juvenile system to the adult system, a spokeswoman for the Tarrant County District Attorney's office said.

Couch was 16 when he was tried as a juvenile. A psychiatrist testifying on his behalf said he had "affluenza," as his family's wealth had left him so spoiled that it impaired his judgement to tell right from wrong.

The affluenza diagnosis, not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, was widely ridiculed.

"It's more than overdue for Couch to be held accountable after taking the lives of four people, and injuring several others," activist group Mothers Against Drunk Driving said in a statement.

If he is found to have violated the probation deal, Couch faces about four months behind bars. His mother, Tonya Couch, faces up to 10 years in prison for helping her son flee to Mexico.

Couch's lawyers may seek to transfer him to the adult system so he can apply for bail, an option not available in the juvenile system, a legal official familiar with the case said.

The two were arrested in Mexico last month following an over two-week-long manhunt. His mother was deported to the United States last month and has since been freed on bond.

In a video sent by authorities in Mexico, Ethan Couch could be seen signing papers before being accompanied by Mexican officials onto the plane.

He was sentenced in Tarrant County to 10 years of drug-and-alcohol-free probation for intoxication manslaughter, a punishment condemned by critics as privilege rewarded with leniency.

His parents are separated and his father, Fred, runs a metal works company that specializes in roofing.

(Writing by Jon Herskovitz and Gabriel Stargardter; additional reporting by Suzannah; editing by Simon Gardner and G Crosse)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Jan 29, 2016 00:31 IST

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