MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Lawyers for a Texas teen who killed four people in a so-called “affluenza” drunk-driving case have told Mexican authorities they want to drop their fight against his deportation to the United States, a Mexican official said on Wednesday.
Ethan Couch’s legal team presented a document to a court in western Jalisco state seeking to end the effort, although the 18-year-old must still sign the paperwork and have it ratified by judicial authorities, the official said.
That would pave the way for the teen to return to the United States to face charges he violated his probation in the 2013 drunk-driving case.
He faces a hearing in February to see if his case will be transferred from juvenile court to adult court.
Couch’s lawyers in the United States said their client has filed paperwork that could see him soon return to Texas from Mexico.
“It is our understanding that paperwork has been filed by Ethan’s counsel in Mexico that will terminate the ongoing Mexican immigration proceedings,” his lawyers, Scott Brown and William Reagan Wynn, said in a statement.
“We believe that this will result in Ethan’s return to the United States within the next few weeks,” they said.
Couch and his mother, Tonya, were arrested in Mexico last month following a more than two-week manhunt. His mother was deported to the United States last month.
The teen is being held in a detention center for migrants in Mexico City, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Documents in the case must be sent to Couch physically and cannot be relayed to him electronically, the official added.
The legal procedure to end the appeal could take some time to complete, after which there should be nothing preventing his removal back to the United States, the official said.
A top migration official in Jalisco said on Tuesday that once Couch dropped his deportation fight, it could still take another month before he is repatriated to the United States.
A psychiatrist testifying on behalf of Couch, then 16, at his 2013 trial in juvenile court contended his family’s wealth had left him so spoiled that it impaired his judgment to tell right from wrong.
The “affluenza” diagnosis, which is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, was widely ridiculed.
Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Cynthia Osterman