Judge upholds ‘affluenza’ mom’s bond but issues warning
FORT WORTH, Texas — State District Judge Wayne Salvant declined Thursday to revoke Tonya Couch’s bond after prosecutors alleged she violated her bond conditions by possessing or consuming alcohol and possessing a firearm.
Salvant made the ruling at a bond hearing in which the assistant manager of the Eagle’s Nest bar in far north Fort Worth testified that Couch sipped beer there on May 20. Salvant indicated he didn’t believe that was enough to revoke bond.
He had the same opinion about testimony that she was carrying a rifle at a gun show last weekend. But Salvant warned her “to use common sense.”
“I think sometimes you use bad judgment,” Salvant told Couch. “People are watching you constantly . ... As you are aware, the eyes of Texas are looking upon you.”
Couch, the mother of “affluenza teen” Ethan Couch, is accused of withdrawing $30,000 from a bank account and fleeing with her son to Mexico after he skipped a probation appointment in 2015. They were arrested a few weeks later in a Mexican resort town and brought back to Texas.
She is charged with money laundering and hindering the apprehension of a felon and has been free on bond since January 2016.
Ethan Couch, 20, killed four people in a drunken-driving wreck in southern Tarrant County in 2013. He received 10 years of probation in the case and is serving time in jail as a condition of his probation.
He first received national attention three years ago after a witness at his trial said he suffered from “affluenza,” meaning that he couldn’t tell right from wrong because of his affluent upbringing.
At Tonya Couch’s hearing Thursday, prosecutor Tiffany Burks asked Salvant to take Couch’s bond conditions “seriously” and send her to jail until her trial, scheduled for Oct. 2.
“The court has bond conditions in place for a reason,” Burks told Salvant.
Salvant said there was “no clear evidence” that Couch drank alcohol. The prosecutors’ allegation was based on testimony from Alys Dill, the assistant manager at the Eagle’s Nest, a sports bar and grill near Eagle Mountain Lake.
Tonya Couch leaves a hearing before Judge Wayne Salvant in Criminal District Court No. 2, who decided not to revoke her bail over her alleged bond violations on Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas.