As “affluenza” teen Ethan Couch awaits at the Agujas immigration detention center in Mexico after fighting deportation back to the U.S., a prison official opened up about the teen’s daily life, while attorney Fernando Benitez confirmed that the deportation process may be quite lengthy.
ABC News reports that an undisclosed Mexican official shared the details of Couch’s daily life in a holding facility where the 18-year-old temporarily lives. Couch no longer has the luxury of living in a sprawling ranch in Burleson, Texas, where he once partied daily and had more freedom than most teenagers. Instead, he’s confined to a small room that he shares with three or four other people. He generally sleeps on a cot or a bunk.
Couch is given three meals a day and for entertainment, has access to a television in the common room of the facility, as well as an outdoor courtyard where he’s provided with a basketball goal and soccer pitch. According to the official, the teen also gets free access to unlimited medical care and unlimited phone calls.
Meanwhile, Couch’s attorney, Benitez, has gotten numerous hate emails after announcing he would be representing Couch. Although Benitez says he “sleeps like a baby” after his decision to defend one of the most despised teens in the United States, the lawyer doesn’t understand where all the hate is coming from.
“I am pretty disappointed at some of the emails I have got. They don’t know anything about me. They don’t know what I am doing. You can’t appease everybody so I am going to appease myself and I am going to do what I think is right. I have more experience than most people in dealing with what’s right and wrong so I am going to let my own moral compass be the guide.”
For the majority of people aware of Ethan Couch’s case, they feel that anything but justice was served. In 2013, the then 16-year-old was given 10 years of probation and required inpatient therapy at a lavish rehabilitation center after he killed four people and injured numerous others during a late night drunk driving incident near the Fort Worth, Texas, area.
Instead of being held accountable for his actions, Couch’s attorneys brought in a psychologist who claimed that the teen suffered from affluenza, a term indicating that since he grew up wealthy and privileged, he never had to follow the same rules as other kids.
Yet, even with a light sentence that required no prison time, Ethan Couch failed to comply. Last month, he fled the country after missing a required probation meeting. Authorities believe that he left the country after a video surfaced of the teen allegedly playing beer pong with friends, a direct violation of his probation.
Ethan, along with his mother, 48-year-old Tonya Couch, went to Mexico, where they hid out for weeks in Puerto Vallarta. The teenager entertained himself by going to strip clubs and ordering pizzas, while his mother funded the entire excursion.
Both mom and son were captured on December 28, but since the teen allegedly didn’t commit any crimes in Mexico, Benitez states that his client’s rights would be violated if authorities force him to return to the U.S. The lawyer also stated that the Mexican government more than likely wouldn’t go for sentencing Ethan Couch as an adult since his original sentencing was handed down when he was a minor.
“My interest is that if they are looking for his extradition to the United States, that it proceeds only according to the constitution and the law. It would be a tough sell for the US to tell Mexico, ‘You know what? This man was tried as a juvenile, pled guilty, was handed down his sentence and now five years later we don’t think the sentence is fair and we want to retry him as an adult.’ Mexico is never going to go along with that.”
[Photo Courtesy of AP/Marco Ugarte]