Case of 'Affluenza Teen' Ethan Couch Will Be Transferred to Adult Court When He Turns 19

'Affluenza Teen': Ethan Couch's Case Will Be Transferred to Adult Court
Ethan Couch
LM Otero/AP

02/19/2016 AT 01:30 PM EST

A judge in Tarrant County, Texas, ruled Friday that Ethan Couch, the so-called "affluenza teen," will have his case transferred to adult court when he turns 19 in April, PEOPLE confirms.

Couch was 16 in 2013 when he killed four pedestrians in a drunk driving accident. His case has been in juvenile court ever since.

He was spared jail time and sentenced to probation after his defense attorney used the defense that Couch suffered from "affluenza" – an inability to understand the consequences of his actions because of his wealthy upbringing.

Couch's 10-year probation sentence prohibits him from driving a car, doing drugs or drinking alcohol. In December, potentially incriminating video footage was posted to Twitter, showing Couch at a party where drinking games were being played.

Subsequently, Couch and his mother went on the run to Mexico, where they spent several weeks. They were tracked down in an apartment in Puerto Vallarta after one of them used a cell phone to call Domino's Pizza.

Couch has been in the custody of police in Texas since January 28 after being extradited from Mexico.

Earlier this month, Couch, 18, was transferred to an adult jail after spending a week in a juvenile detention center. "He's an adult," Sheriff Dee Anderson told reporters at the time.

In court Friday, Couch was wearing a red prison jumpsuit, a color signifying a high-profile inmate, Samantha Jordan, spokeswoman for the Tarrant County District Attorney's office, tells PEOPLE.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

Myriad Legal Troubles for Couch's Parents, Who Divorced in 2007

Couch's mother, Tonya Couch, has been charged by Texas authorities with hindering the apprehension of her fugitive son.

She is out on $75,000 bail. The terms of her release call for Couch to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet and live in the home of her older son.

Last Friday, police were called to the home of Fred Couch, Ethan's father, who is divorced from his mother since 2007, on a report that he had assaulted his girlfriend. A spokesman for the Tarrant County Sheriff's office tells PEOPLE that a woman saying she was Couch's girlfriend told 911 operators she had been choked by the 50-year-old businessman.

However, authorities did not file charges against Couch after the woman refused to cooperate with investigators, the spokesman said.

Public records indicate that Fred Couch has been arrested several times for violent offenses.

PEOPLE confirms Couch was arrested for assault in 1999 for punching a contractor at a construction site. He was sentenced to several days behind bars and placed on probation for two years.

One of Couch's female employees accused him of sexual harassment and forced touching in 2009, and court records indicate that case was eventually settled in civil court, though the terms of that settlement remain sealed.

More than a year ago, Couch was arrested for falsely identifying himself as a police officer, according to court records. He's set to appear in court to answer to that charge on March 18.

Police also confirm they were called to Couch's home this past November by a woman claiming to be his girlfriend. She told police Couch had been abusive towards her, but no charges were ever filed.
blog comments powered by Disqus

From Our Partners