Tonya Couch, mother of “affluenza teen” Ethan Couch, remains in a Tarrant County, Texas, jail after a Friday morning hearing. Although authorities say Couch remains respectful and subdued, she complained today that she’s uncomfortable in her high-security jail cell.
New York Daily News reports that on Friday, a Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson claimed that Couch, 48, isn’t happy with her jail accommodations at the Lon Evans Corrections Center. She complained to the sheriff about the conditions of her jail cell, but Anderson reminded her that she shouldn’t expect resort-style living while behind bars.
“She expressed a slight displeasure about her accommodations, and I told her this was a jail and not a resort.”
Couch is being housed in a single cell in the county’s newest jail, but she express dissatisfaction about the lights, stating they are too bright and she can’t sleep. She gained no sympathy at all from Anderson. In fact, Couch’s lawyer, Stephanie Patten, is now blaming Anderson for treating her client unlawfully, claiming that he’s going to excessive measures to make a circus out of the matter.
“In our collective 40 plus years of practicing criminal law here in Tarrant County, both as prosecutors or defense attorneys, we have never witnessed an elected ofﬁcial take such a personal interest and escort a suspect.”
Patten, referring to the heightened security surrounding Couch’s entrance back into Texas and into the jail, accused Anderson of practicing “political posturing,” which she claims violates her client’s rights.
“We would like to thank Anderson for taking time out of his busy day serving as this county’s chief law enforcement officer to personally escort a 5’1″, 110 pound handcuffed and leg shackled female who was guarded by at least 2 armed deputies yesterday. He was also kind enough to make sure she was booked into the ‘Super Max’ unit of the jail, normally reserved for those accused of extremely violent or capital crimes…”
Anderson is slated to run for re-election this year against fellow Republicans Bill Waybourn and John Garris. Yet, the sheriff indicated that his involvement with the case is personal, not political, despite Patten’s accusations.
“I personally feel like justice was denied at the first juncture. And I have everything possible invested in this to get him back. “
WFAA ABC reports that the attorney is also concerned that Anderson may have talked to Couch about her passport without the presence of counsel. During the Friday morning arraignment, Anderson revealed that Couch lost her temporary passport before she arrived in Texas.
According to Couch’s arrest warrant affidavit, she allegedly withdrew $30,000 from her bank account in December before fleeing to Mexico. Meanwhile, Ethan Couch, 18, still remains in Mexico, where he’s being housed in a detention center after winning a temporary deportation stay. Mom and son fled the country after the 18-year-old reportedly violated his probation after drinking alcohol. The teen has been on probation since 2013, after he killed four people and severely injured others during a drunk driving accident.
Tonya, currently being held on a $1 million bond, is expected to appear in court on Monday for a bond reduction hearing. Her attorneys are asking for a bond decrease to $25,000 or under. Regardless of whether it’s reduced or not, Tonya Couch is considered a flight risk and will be required wear an ankle monitor and follow other special conditions should she bond out of jail.
[Photo Courtesy of the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office]