Ethan Couch, who successfully avoided jail time for intoxication manslaughter by arguing his parents were too rich and too lenient, might have been caught violating his parole. A grainy video on Twitter reportedly shows the 18-year-old participating in a game of beer pong. If the police verify the accusation, Couch could go to jail for 10-years for a crime many say he should have been convicted of in 2013.
The video that is gaining traction and threatens the teenager’s freedom was Tweeted at the Tarrant County DA in Texas.
— h (@BlondeSpectre) December 2, 2015
The snippet supposedly catches Couch clapping and laughing in the beer pong game, implying that he was drinking as well. Juvenile court prosecutor Riley Shaw is now investigating the party and asking any witnesses to come forward. Likewise, a forensics team is looking to see if the low-quality images can identify the teenager.
— NewsFixDFW (@NewsFixDFW) December 4, 2015
The Twitter account holder for @BlondeSpectre came forward to WFAA and identified herself as Hannah Hardee, a 21-year old woman. She claims that she was not at the party and did not take the video, but she found it on Twitter and saved it before it was taken down.
Hardee says she reposted it because she was upset at how little the wealthy teen seemed to care about his controversially earned parole.
“It was just making me mad that they were not taking any of this seriously. And after seeing the interviews with the victims’ families and stuff, it just really gets to me.”
Ethan Couch became a household name in early 2013. He was charged with intoxication manslaughter after ramming his truck into a group of four people trying to help a stranded motorist.
Couch killed all four bystanders, throwing some of them 60 yards according to the Daily Mail, while going 70 mph. The teenager’s blood-alcohol level was.24, three times the legal limit. He also had multiple passengers; many were injured, one can now only “smile and blink” as a result of the crash.
Despite the severity of the accident, Ethan Couch’s real notoriety came from his subsequent legal defense. The defense team argued that the teenager’s fatally irresponsible behavior stemmed from being raised by wealthy, dysfunctional parents.
Psychologist Dr. G. Dick Miller coined the condition “affluenza” during his paid testimony before the court.
“The teen never learned to say that you’re sorry if you hurt someone. If you hurt someone, you sent him money.”
Ethan’s father, millionaire sheet metal manufacturer Fred Couch, has about 22 accusations on his own criminal record, including theft, evading arrest, and assault against his ex-wife Tonya.
— Sasha Goldstein (@NYCitySasha) December 4, 2015
Fred Couch did not spend any time in jail, occasionally by paying restitution when accused.
Partially thanks to the affluenza defense, Ethan also avoided jail time. Instead, he received 10-years probation, during which he was prohibited from driving a car, drinking alcohol, or using drugs. Any violation of those terms could lead to 10 years in prison.
Now there appears to be some evidence that he violated those terms, but legal experts say it may not be enough.
Talking to the Dallas Morning News, Tarrant County sheriff spokesperson Terry Grisham explained further.
“He’s allowed due process at every level. [Cases] are not prosecuted or revoked or modified based on hearsay or based on a grainy video that we can’t identify someone in.”
According to ABC News, legal experts say even if Ethan Couch is positively identified on the video, it’s still not hard evidence that he violated the terms of his parole.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]