U.S.

'Affluenza' Teen to Remain in Juvenile Detention Per Texas Judge

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Ethan Couch, known as the "affluenza" teen after he killed four people in a drunk driving incident in 2013, is seen at Mexico's National Institute of Migration before being driven to the international airport in this still image from a video provided by the Institute, in Mexico City, January 28. Couch was deported from Mexico on Thursday, leaving the capital aboard a commercial flight heading for Dallas, Mexico's migration department said. National Institute of Migration/Reuters

Updated | FORT WORTH, Texas (Reuters) - A Texas judge ruled on Friday that America's so-called "affluenza" teenager should remain in custody for now at a juvenile detention center in Fort Worth, where he has been held since he was deported from Mexico on Thursday.

Ethan Couch, 18, fled to Mexico last month with his mother after he apparently violated the probation deal reached in juvenile court that kept him out of prison for killing four people while driving drunk in 2013.

Judge Timothy Menikos said he was considering a move to an adult prison for Couch. If that happens, he could be eligible for release on bail, court officials have said, adding that the bail option was not available to him in the juvenile system.

Couch faces a hearing on February 19 to determine if his entire case will move to the adult system.

"Ethan Couch is locked up," Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson told reporters after the hearing. She added her office will do everything in its power to hold him accountable for what he has done.

Couch fled to Mexico after a video emerged on social media that appeared to show him at a party where alcohol was being consumed.

Couch was 16 when he was tried as a juvenile. A psychiatrist testifying on his behalf said he had "affluenza," arguing that his family's wealth had left him so spoiled that it impaired his ability to tell right from wrong.

The affluenza diagnosis, not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, was widely ridiculed.

If he is found to have violated the probation deal, Couch faces about four months behind bars. His mother, Tonya Couch, faces up to 10 years in prison for helping her son flee to Mexico.

Couch was sentenced in Tarrant County to 10 years of drug-and-alcohol-free probation for intoxication manslaughter, a punishment condemned by critics as privilege rewarded with leniency.

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