DA Seeks Jail Time For Affluent Teen As Details About Background Arise

By Byron Harris - WFAA
By Emma Koch - 21Alive

Credit: WFAA

DA Seeks Jail Time For Affluent Teen As Details About Background Arise

December 18, 2013 Updated Dec 18, 2013 at 12:31 PM EDT

FORT WORTH (WFAA) -- More information has arisen in the background of 16-year-old Ethan Couch, who was given a controversial probation sentence in a drunken driving crash that killed four in June.

Dating back to 1989, Fred Couch, Ethan's father, shows up 23 times in Johnson County police records. Included in the records are charges of criminal mischief, theft by check and assault. The cases were dismissed.

Tonya Couch, divorced from Ethan's father in 2007, was charged with reckless driving in 2003.

Tuesday, the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office released a statement in which they revealed they are working to put the teen behind bars on two intoxication assault cases from the deadly June crash.

A judge ordered Couch to 10 years probation and a year's worth of in-house treatment at a California rehabilitation center after his attorneys argued his parents replaced discipline with money during his trial. In early December, the teen admitted fault in the deadly crash, but didn't plead guilty.

"During his recent trial, the 16-year-old admitted his guilt in four cases of intoxication manslaughter and two cases of intoxication assault," read a statement from District Attorney Joe Shannon. "There has been no verdict formally entered in the two intoxication assault cases. Every case deserves a verdict. The District Attorney’s Office is asking the court to incarcerate the teen on the two intoxication assault cases."

Couch had access to a 4,000-square foot house on Burleson Retta Road. The home, where he often stayed alone, is listed in Tarrant County property records in his mother's name. The house is virtually unfurnished, but was available for him to party, unsupervised.

The accident took place less than a half mile from his home. Couch had three times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood, as well as Valium.

Tammy Overton, who lives a few doors away from Couch's house, said she was surprised that a 16 year old lived alone in the large house. But, her main concern over the case still lies in the fact that Couch received probation instead of jail time. Overton is a professional truck driver who knows the punishment she would face if she was behind the wheel during a deadly drunken driving crash.

"I would lose my whole livelihood," she said. "I would have the rest of my life taken away from me because I would be in jail. But, there were four people that lost their lives in that accident. There were four people who lost their lives and they don't gt their lives back."

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