FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Outrage builds against Ethan Couch, 16, who was sentenced to probation for killing four people while drunk in Tarrant County.
Judge Jean Boyd could have sentenced him to 20 years in jail, but instead gave him 10 years probation.
She said in court Tuesday that he was responsible for what happened, but she didn’t believe he would get the necessary therapy and treatment in jail.
“I don’t know how many years it has been since I have seen as strong of a reaction to a sentence as I have this,” says Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson “I’ve been just bombarded by citizens that are outraged about what happened.”
Sheriff Anderson’s department investigated the crash. He says the crash scene was as gruesome as he’s ever seen.
“Here was an opportunity, an example if you will, to be made out of someone say we are going to show the world that this person is going to be held accountable – and now the message is but really, no” says Sheriff Anderson.
Eric Boyles is among the many outraged by the sentence. His wife and daughter were two of the victims.
“Unfortunately the wounds that it opened only makes the healing process that much greater and more difficult,” said Boyles struggling to speak, “We had over 180 years of life taken, future life – not 180 years lived, but 180 years of future life taken and two of those were my wife and daughter.”
Couch’s attorney’s say the teen could have been freed in only two years if the judge had sentenced him to 20 years in jail.
They say this sentence allows the justice system to keep an eye on him for the next 10 years.
His attorney’s want Judge Boyd to send him to California for treatment. It would cost $450,000 a year and his family would pay for it.
“The message is that you are not accountable that you don’t have to be accountable because everyone I talked to I was saying now he’s going to be held accountable I’ve had people tell me I’ve told my son and grandson watch this kids life is ruined because of these decision he made and now we are telling those same kids he got off with a slap on the wrist,” says Sheriff Anderson “That was a conscious decision made by him and we are concerned now that he receive the proper counseling I would be concerned about the counseling for those victims left behind.”
CBS 11’s Arezow Doost has been trying to reach Judge Boyd about her decision but she was told that it would be a ethical violation if she talked about the case.
Couch’s family is not commenting.
He will remain in Tarrant County Juvenile Detention until the probation department finds a treatment program for him.
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