Boy, 16, who killed 4 people drunk driving sentenced to probatio - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Boy, 16, who killed 4 people drunk driving sentenced to probation

Prosecutors sought the maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for 16-year-old Ethan Couch. Instead, a judge ordered the boy to serve 10 years probation. Prosecutors sought the maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for 16-year-old Ethan Couch. Instead, a judge ordered the boy to serve 10 years probation.
Couch lost control of his vehicle on June 15, killing a woman whose disabled SUV was on the side of the road. He also killed three people who had come to her aid. Couch lost control of his vehicle on June 15, killing a woman whose disabled SUV was on the side of the road. He also killed three people who had come to her aid.

(NBC) - Victims' families are outraged after a teenager from Texas, who admits he was driving drunk when he crashed and killed four people, was sentenced to only probation.

Prosecutors sought the maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for 16-year-old Ethan Couch. Instead, a judge ordered the boy to serve 10 years probation.

Defense attorneys argued Couch needs treatment, rather than incarceration.

Couch lost control of his vehicle on June 15, killing a woman whose disabled SUV was on the side of the road. He also killed three people who had come to her aid.

A nurse testified that Couch's blood alcohol level was .277 when he was first tested.

Victims' families believe Couch's family status kept him out of prison.

"While Ethan has had a privileged life, money has always been there and money always seems to keep Ethan out of trouble. This was one time I did ask the court for justice and for money not to prevail," said Eric Boyles, who lost his wife and daughter in the accident. "And ultimately today I felt like money did prevail today ... That if Ethan had been any other 16-year-old without parents of influence and money, I believe the outcome and circumstances would have been different.

He continued, "But for probation for four lives and the two serious injuries, I don't get it. I'm sorry, I just don't get it."

"There's nothing the judge could have done that's going to lessen the suffering for any of those families," said Defense Attorney Scott Brown. "If we could do that, we would. But we applaud Judge Boyd for having the courage to issue this sentence that's going to give Ethan Couch a chance to develop into a productive citizen and try to make amends for his actions.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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