Tarrant County authorities released “affluenza teen” Ethan Couch from jail on Friday, a day after arresting him on a probation violation after he tested positive for THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
As of 1:30 p.m. Friday Ethan Couch was no longer listed on the Tarrant County Jail's website as an inmate.
According to a statement from Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson, Couch had a “weak positive” THC result on a drug patch.
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Probation department officials said they “did not have confidence in the result,” Wilson said.
“Until final testing, we cannot tell if the patch result was actually THC,” the statement said. “We cannot tell whether the ‘weak positive’ was caused by legal CBD oil or illegal marijuana.”
Couch, now 22, killed four people in June 2013 when he was driving drunk and under the influence of marijuana and Valium when he crashed into a car along Burleson-Retta Road in southern Tarrant County. Nine others were injured, several critically.
Couch and his mother Tonya later fled to Mexico and were arrested in Puerto Vallarta.
After being sent back to Texas, Ethan Couch was sentenced to two years in jail, a sentence he completed in April 2018.
Couch gained nationwide notoriety during his initial trial when his lawyers argued he was a victim of “affluenza” – being so rich and spoiled that he never learned the difference between right and wrong.
Couch's attorneys Scott Brown and Reagan Wynn denied their client used any illegal drugs, that Couch is committed to his sobriety and that he would be re-tested.
“We are optimistic the additional testing will verify Ethan has not knowingly and voluntarily used alcohol, THC, or any other prohibited substance since being released from custody more than 20 months ago,” the lawyers said in a statement. “The court will continue to intensely monitor Ethan for alcohol and illegal substance use. Ethan is committed to his sobriety and to remaining compliant with all of the terms and conditions imposed by the Court.”
Retired prosecutor Richard Alpert who handled Couch's initial case predicted Couch will remain in the news for years to come.
"I'd like to think the current lesson is if you put yourself in the public eye and you ignore the laws and you ignore the extra chances you have, then you're going to be under a microscope for the rest of your life," Alpert said.