Deposition Tapes Show Privileged, Drug- and Alcohol-Fueled Life of 'Affluenza' Teen
A psychologist for the defense testified that Couch had 'affluenza,' whose parents never set limits for the teen
The Texas teen who used “affluenza” as his defense in a fatal drunk driving charge often lived alone in a 4,000-square-foot house with a pool and wet bar and did drugs including Valium, Hydrocodone, marijuana, cocaine, Xanex and ecstasy, according to newly released deposition tapes.
The deposition tapes, which were obtained by ABC News, reveal the reckless and privileged upbringing of Ethan Couch, who at age 16 plowed into a group of people helping a stranded motorist, killing four of them.
During the deposition, Couch was asked if there was alcohol most of the time at the Burleson house where he often lived alone. “Yes, most of the time,” he responded.
When asked if there were drugs there, he responded, “Yes” and proceeded to rattle off a list of drugs he had ingested.
“I’ve taken Valium, Hydrocodone, marijuana, cocaine, Xanax and I think I tried ecstasy once,” he testified.
Couch testified that on the night of the June 15, 2013 crash, he didn’t remember pulling out of the driveway.
When asked what the next thing he remembered was, Couch answered, “Waking up handcuffed to the hospital bed.”
In the deposition, Couch’s parents Tonya and Fred Couch acknowledged leaving their son home alone at their Burleson house and permitting their son to drive at the age of 13. Both parents denied any knowledge of their sons drinking problems.
“Ethan seemed pretty responsible,” Fred Couch testified.
When asked if she could remember the last time she disciplined her son, Tonya answered, “I don’t remember.”
Couch, whose blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit that fateful night, pleaded guilty to four counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault.
At his sentencing, a psychologist called by the defense testified that Couch was a product of “affluenza,” who didn’t understand the consequences of his actions because his wealthy parents never set limits for the teen.
In a court ruling that stunned victims’ family members and prosecutors who asked for a maximum of 20 years behind bars, Couch was given no jail time and ordered to go to a residential treatment facility. He was sentenced to just 10 years of probation.
After the criminal proceedings ended, six families filed lawsuits against Couch, his parents, and their company, Cleburne Sheet Metal. The Couch’s settled the lawsuits out of court.
However, before the family of Lucas McConnell settled, they got videotaped depositions from Couch, his parents and psychologist Dick Miller, who testified about the “affluenza” defense.
Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.