Prosecutor Tries Again To Jail Drunken 'Affluenza' Teen Who Killed Four, Paralyzed One

Sergio Molina, 16, is paralyzed and can communicate only by blinking.

He is one of two teens left in critical condition in June after riding in the back of Ethan Couch's Ford F-350 pickup, which he drunkenly drove into four pedestrians, killing them all.

Now, North Texas prosecutors are trying for a second time to imprison him — last week Couch, who is also 16, was sentenced to 10 years' probation.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Tuesday that Tarrant County District Attorney Joe Shannon has asked a juvenile judge to Ethan Couch behind bars on two cases of intoxication assault, which he says are still pending before the court.

"During his recent trial, the 16-year-old admitted his guilt in four cases of intoxication manslaughter and two cases of intoxication assault," Shannon said in an email to the newspaper. "There has been no verdict formally entered in the two intoxication assault cases. Every case deserves a verdict."

According to testimony, one of them, District Judge Jean Boyd gave Couch 10 years' probation last week after a sentencing hearing in which Couch's attorneys argued his wealthy parents coddled him into a sense of irresponsibility — an affliction one witness called "affluenza" (a pun on the words affluence and influenza, which alludes to the effects of wealthiness on society).

Prosecutors had asked for a maximum prison sentence of 20 years for Couch, who allegedly was driving at 70 mph when he hit the crowd.

Couch's blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit and there were traces of Valium in his system when he lost control of his pickup, plowing into a group of people helping a woman whose car had stalled.

Seven passengers were riding in Couch's truck. In addition to Molina, Solimon Mohmand suffered numerous broken bones and internal injuries.

According to the New York Daily News, the five families impacted by Couch’s drunken driving filed civil suits against the boy, his family and the family business — the parents of Sergio Molina are seeking $20 million.

Defense attorneys had requested a lengthy probationary term at a costly rehabilitation facility in California, promising that Couch's parents would foot the bill. During sentencing, Boyd said he might not get the kind of intensive therapy in a state-run program that he could receive at the California facility.

If Couch violates the terms of his probation, he could be sent to prison for 10 years.

Under Texas juvenile law, the maximum allowable sentence in Couch's intoxication assault case would be three years in a Texas Juvenile Justice Department facility; he would be released no later than his 19th birthday.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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