MEXICO CITY Ethan Couch, the Texas youth known as the "affluenza" teen for using his family's wealth as a defence for killing four people in a drunk driving incident in 2013, has dropped a legal challenge to his deportation to the United States from Mexico, a Mexican judicial source said on Tuesday.
Couch, 18, and his mother, Tonya, were arrested in Mexico last month following a more than two-week manhunt. His mother was deported to the United States last month.
"He has dropped his legal challenge ... Now it is over to the foreign ministry or migration," the judicial source said, adding they did not know when the youth would be returned to the United States.
Couch was sentenced to 10 years of drug-and-alcohol-free probation for intoxication manslaughter, a punishment condemned by critics as privilege rewarded with leniency. He now faces the prospect of charges in the United States for violating his probation.
During Couch's trial, a psychologist sparked outrage by saying in his defence that Couch was so wealthy and spoiled he could not tell the difference between right and wrong - hence, he was a victim of "affluenza."
Tarrant Count, Texas, prosecutors say Couch is responsible for his own absence by fleeing to Mexico. His mother was returned to Texas and faces a third-degree felony charge for helping her son to flee that could result in a 10-year prison sentence if she is convicted.
"We've been hearing for a while that he is about to come back, but we haven't been notified of anything yet," said Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson.
U.S. marshals are in Mexico and are waiting to bring him back, he said. Upon his arrival, Couch will be placed in juvenile detention, Anderson added.
If Couch is found to have violated his probation, he could be held in adult detention for about four months.
He faces a detention hearing in Fort Worth on Feb. 19 to determine if his case will be transferred to the adult system. Tarrant County prosecutors are looking into whether he could face additional charges.
(Reporting by Anahi Rama in Mexico City and Marice Richter and Jon Herskovitz in Texas; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
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Updated Date: Jan 27, 2016 03:01 AM