Ethan Couch, the “affluenza teen,” waived his right to a detention hearing, which would have determined if he could be released from jail while waiting on his next court date.
The Dallas Morning News reports that Couch, 18, remains in an adult jail, and will stay there until February 19, when he attends his next court hearing. During the hearing, State District Judge Timothy Menikos will decide if Couch’s case remains with the Tarrant County juvenile court or is moved to an adult court. Should his case move to an adult court, Couch faces 120 days in jail, and if he violates his probation again, he’ll face up to 40 years in prison.
Couch’s life in jail is typical of any inmate confined to the maximum security Lon Evans Corrections Center, according to Tarrant County sheriff, Dee Anderson. On Monday, Anderson revealed that Couch is passing time by eating ice cream and watching old exercise videos. Aside from the exercise videos, which are old VHS tapes of Richard Simmons and Jack LaLanne, Anderson said the inmates aren’t allowed to watch any television at all.
“There’s no TV watching in this facility.”
Not only are inmates separated from each via individual cells, but they aren’t allowed to eat together. Food is served to Couch and other inmates through a “bean chute,” a rectangular steel portal in the cell door that only opens from the outside. Visitation is also done via the bean chute and a computer monitor, with no face-to-face contact.
Couch’s cell is small, with a built-in concrete bench to hold a twin-sized mattress, and a steel sink and toilet. A few cells contain showers, but Anderson didn’t state whether Couch’s cell had one or not. The setup of the jail cell, per Anderson, allows inmates to stay in their cell at all times.
“This gives us the ability — if we need to — to leave a person in here 24 hours a day. We don’t have to move them at all.”
The information comes after a number of people heard speculations that Couch was being “coddled” while in jail, which Anderson says is the furthest from the truth. The sheriff answered questions on a national talk show about his most infamous inmate to date.
Anderson chose to put the 18-year-old in Lon Evans due to its heightened security. The sheriff stated that since Couch’s case is such a high-profile one, he could easily get hurt by other inmates if he’s in the older Tarrant County jail.
“With a notorious, high-profile inmate, you have to worry about someone else trying to hurt him.”
Meanwhile, Ethan’s mother Tonya Couch is off the hook for paying $3,700 in travel costs from her extradition. Last month, she was flown from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to Los Angeles, and then from Los Angeles to the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. Couch recently made bail after being booked into the Tarrant County jail, but must wear a monitoring device on her ankle at all times, stay away from alcohol and weapons, and check in weekly with law enforcement.
Tonya couch currently faces a felony charge of hindering the apprehension of felon after fleeing with her son to Mexico last December. Ethan Couch is serving a 10-year probation sentence for the 2013 drunk driving incident in which he killed four innocent bystanders and injured numerous others. The teen was allegedly playing beer pong with friends during his probation. A video of the game, with someone who looked just like the teen, was posted online just shortly before mom and son fled the country. Any alcohol use at all would mean a violation of his probation.
Attorneys for Ethan Couch stated that they aren’t challenging the move to adult court, but they do have a detailed strategy in mind.
[Photo by the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department]