Breaking News Emails
The mother of Ethan Couch, the 18-year-old fugitive whose lawyers used "affluenza" as a defense to get him probation for a fatal DUI wreck, won't fight extradition home to Texas, where she faces a charge of hindering apprehension, her lawyer said.
Tonya Couch is set for a Jan. 14 court date in Tarrant County, according to her lawyers and court records.
Tonya and Ethan Couch fled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, as prosecutors investigated whether the 18-year-old had violated his probation. They were detained Monday.
Tonya Couch remained in custody Thursday in Los Angeles, where she was returned overnight. Ethan Couch remains in Mexico in an immigration facility in Mexico City after a judge issued an injunction temporarily blocking his deportation, officials said.
Tonya Couch was scheduled for an initial hearing Jan. 14 in Tarrant County, Texas, Magistrate's Court on a charge of hindering an apprehension for allegedly helping her son escape. If she's convicted of the felony count, she could face two to 10 years in prison, officials said. A formal charge was filed in Texas overnight.
First, she must be transferred from Los Angeles. Jane Robinson, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, told NBC News that Tonya Couch would appear in court for an extradition hearing Monday or Tuesday.
Stephanie Patten and Steve Gordon, her attorneys, said their client "looks forward to being returned to Texas as quickly as possible."
"While the public may not like what she did, may not agree with what she did, or may have strong feelings against what she did, make no mistake — Tonya did not violate any law of the State of Texas and she is eager to have her day in court," they said in a statement.
It remained unclear why Tonya Couch was taken to Los Angeles instead of Texas, where she and her son live and where he was on probation in the 2013 wreck, which killed four people.
Ethan Couch's defense team successfully argued that the teen, who was 16 at the time, was raised in a wealthy family in such a privileged way that he was unable to distinguish right from wrong, a condition that has has been called "affluenza." Affluenza is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.