Ethan Couch killed four people while driving intoxicated and as part of his defense he claimed ‘affluenza’ was to blame for his actions.


Ethan Couch, 18, crashed his truck into a disabled car on the side of the road near Fort Worth, Tex., in 2013, killing four people and injuring several others. During his trial, Couch claimed he suffered from ‘affluenza’, meaning his financial privilege and coddled upbringing kept him from learning right from wrong.

In just-released deposition tapes from the trial, Couch noted that he had used drugs and that his parents were aware of his alcohol consumption. “I’ve taken Valium, Hydrocodone, marijuana, cocaine, Xanax, and I think I tried Ecstasy once, pretty sure that was it.” Only 16 years old at the time of the incident, he mentioned that alcohol was always readily available to him in his house. Couch could not recall what happened the night of the crash, only that he remembered waking up in the hospital, hand-cuffed to the bed.

After Couch’s attorneys invoked the affluenza defence in 2013, Couch was given 10 years probation and time at a rehab center by District Judge Jean Boyd. The prosecutors had asked for a 20-year prison sentence.

Couch and his family have been dealing with multiple lawsuits since the incident.

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