The clinical psychologist who suggested in court that a Texas teen was partially blameless for killing four individuals in a drunk driving accident because he was spoiled as a child and never learned right from wrong defended his testimony Thursday night.
Dr. Dick Miller appeared on CNN where he was grilled by host Anderson Cooper for comments he previously made which implied 16-year-old Ethan Couch was not entirely responsible for killing four individuals while driving drunk over the summer.
“[I]sn’t this making excuses?” Cooper asked. “I mean, you said the vast majority of people then, you know, want too much, spend too much, eat too much, but if you commit a crime, if you kill four people, you can’t use that as an excuse, can you?”
“No, and the term — when you use the word kill and people out in America hear that, it implies that there was some — that motive, that the motive was not good,” Miller answered.
Cooper took issue with Miller’s refusal to acknowledge that Couch killed four individuals.
“Are you saying he didn’t murder — he didn’t kill four people?” he asked.
“He — yes, he did not murder four people. It’s a legal term,” Miller countered.
“OK. But he slammed his truck — into four people,” Cooper pressed.
“First-degree homicide and involuntary manslaughter are different things, Anderson,” Miller said in response.
Cooper, visibly frustrated asked again if he “killed four people.”
“Four people died,” Miller said.
“Well, no, four people didn’t just magically die. He slammed his vehicle into four people, correct?” Cooper countered.
The two continued to spar over the terminology, but Miller never conceded to Cooper that Couch actually killed four individuals.
Miller had previously said the teenager never learned how to properly deal with his actions because he was too spoiled.
“The teen never learned to say that you’re sorry if you hurt someone. If you hurt someone, you sent him money,” Miller said.
“He never learned that sometimes you don’t get your way,” he had added. “He had the cars and he had the money. He had freedoms that no young man would be able to handle.”
On Tuesday a judge decided to give Couch a 10 year probation sentence rather than jail time after his attorney’s argued the teenager’s parents spoiled him and never taught him right from wrong.
Psychologists have since slammed the defense as “laughable.”
“Essentially what he has done is slapped this child on the wrist for what is obviously a very serious offense which he would be responsible for in any other situation,” Dr. Gary Buffone told CBS News. “The defense is laughable, the disposition is horrifying … not only haven’t the parents set any consequences, but it’s being reinforced by the judge’s actions.”
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