Prosecutors said the boy was driving seven of his friends in his Ford F-350 on June 15 when the car collided with a group of people on the side of the road on the outskirts of Fort Worth. They were Breanna Mitchell of Lillian, Tex., whose car had broken down, Brian Jennings, and Hollie and Shelby Boyles, who had come to her assistance, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. All four were killed, and two passengers in the truck were critically injured.
The boy pleaded guilty last week to manslaughter and assault while intoxicated. He had been speeding, and had Valium and a high level of alcohol in his blood, according to testimony.
Even with the excuse of youth — the boy was 16 — this is an egregious crime exacerbated by the irresponsible use of drugs. Prosecutors recommended a 20 year jail sentence; his wealthy parents hired a psychologist who argued that it was all the parents’ fault, and that he was spoiled rotten.
“He never learned that sometimes you don’t get your way,” Miller said. “He had the cars and he had the money. He had freedoms that no young man would be able to handle.”
He used the term “affluenza,” which describes the ennui and depravity of certain very rich people, and which was popularized by psychologist Oliver James in a 2007 book by the same title.
The end result? For killing 4 people and maiming two others, he got probation.
The boy will be sent to a private home near Newport Beach, Calif. that offers intensive therapy. His parents will pay for the therapy, which can cost $450,000 a year or more.
All hail the Ancien Régime!