A Texas judge on Wednesday sentenced "affluenza" teen Ethan Couch to almost two years behind bars for violating parole, sternly informing the 19-year-old that he wouldn't be leaving lock-up any time soon.
"For Ethan Couch's 19th birthday we hope he doesn't get what he wants, but instead gets what he needs - and that's the maximum amount of jail time the judge is able to give him", Mothers Against Drunk Driving North Texas Executive Director, Jason Derscheid, said in a statement. If Couch violated his probation as an adult, he could be sent to prison for up to 40 years - 10 years for each person he killed in 2013.
Authorities say Couch and his mother, Tonya, fled the U.S. in December, as Texas prosecutors investigated whether a video showing the teen at a party where alcohol was present meant he violated his probation. Two of the passengers riding in the pick-up truck's bed were thrown from the vehicle and seriously injured.
At the time, he was tried in juvenile court and his lawyer argued Couch grew up wealthy and privileged, and thus had no sense of right from wrong - a term coined as "affluenza", which drew much outrage.
A juvenile judge sentenced him to 10 years of probation, a ruling that ignited a national backlash.
District Judge Wayne Salvant has decided that Couch will be "jailed for 180 days on each of the four counts of intoxication manslaughter he faces", The Dallas Morning News reports.
It was not clear if the 720-day sentence would include time served.
He had a blood-alcohol level almost three times the legal limit for an adult. The situation is further convoluted by the fact that he's already in jail, accused of violating probation in part by traveling to Mexico a year ago.
On Dec. 28, authorities found Ethan and Tonya Couch in the Mexican resort city of Puerto Vallarta.
Again, Couch is already in jail. Tarrant County Prosecutor Riley Shaw said the window of opportunity for such punishment ended when Couch turned 19, although Salvant can take the facts into account when determining the conditions of Couch's probation now that he is an adult.
Couch has been in custody in Texas since January.
Tonya Couch was charged with helping her son flee to Mexico. Fred Couch and Steven McWilliams, Couch's half brother, attended the hearing with a handful of other family members. Jordan, the spokeswoman for prosecutors, said they instead wanted Couch moved to the adult system to seek jail time there.