Rich Teen Avoids Prison For Fatal DUI With 'Affluenza' Defense
There is outrage today that a teenager who mowed down four people is avoiding prison, with many people believing it's because his family is rich.
His defense: he claims he suffers from something called "affluenza," spoiled rotten by wealthy parents who didn't teach him right from wrong.
A judge in Dallas just sentenced 16-year-old Ethan Couch to spend two years in a luxury rehab.
Instead of being sent to prison, Ethan is being sent to a luxurious treatment center for troubled teens in Orange County, California. There are just 12 residents there and a staff of 40 to pamper them. And the therapy includes—get this—horseback riding.
There are no cells at this place. Ethan will live in a room with all the comforts of home. There's even a gourmet kitchen. It costs $450,000 a year. All expenses paid by Ethan's rich parents.
HLN host Nancy Grace told INSIDE EDITION, "Have you seen the exteriors and interiors of Newport Academy? It looks like a ritzy spa. I mean, look at it. It looks like Rancho Mirage. I want to go on vacation there."
Ethan was drunk when he drove his dad's pick-up at 70 mph into a group of people helping a stranded motorist on the highway.
Twenty-four-year-old Breanna Mitchell was changing a tire when 52-year-old Hollie Boyles and her 21-year-old daughter, Shelby, stopped to help. So did youth pastor Brian Jennings. They were all killed. Ethan's two passengers were left seriously injured. One young man was left paralysed.
Scott Brown, defense attorney, said, "Taking him away from his family and teaching him to be a responsible citizen, that's a consequence."
Ethan's father is a wealthy industrialist and Ethan has lived a life of wealth and privilege.
Grace said, "I guarantee, if his illness is "affluenza," that his daddy has bought him out of every problem he's ever been in, he's not going to get rehab now. He's going to be right in there with Lindsay Lohan. He's going to come out of this ritzy rehab and commit some other offense."
Eric Boyles, who lost his wife and daughter in the tragedy, says the sentence is an insult to the bereaved families.
Boyles tearfully said, "The wounds that it opened only makes the healing proces that much greater."