It’s been just over a month since the horrific news broke that American Idol contestant Caleb Kennedy drove off the side of the road in his hometown of Spartanburg, SC, and killed 54-year-old Larry Parris in his own driveway.
Toxicology reports traced marijuana in Kennedy’s system (he confessed to hitting a vape pen before getting in the car, unaware that it contained marijuana), and the 17-year-old is being tried as an adult and could face up to 25 years in prison.
According to WYFF4, Circuit Court Judge Daniel Hall refused to set bond, noting that conditions by a previous circuit judge had not been met.
This is the third time Kennedy has appeared in front of a judge, asking to be released to his family as they await trial.
The family of the victim has been adamant that Kennedy should not be allowed to leave jail. During the emergency bond hearing, Parris’ wife, Donna, and daughter Kelsi Harvell, delivered a heartbreaking statement to the judge and Kennedy’
Donna Parris said:
“The only reason we are here is because this man made a conscious decision to put something into his body and then consciously got into a vehicle knowing he didn’t need to be driving and came down a dead-end road and came into my driveway.
I don’t think he should be allowed to get out and take a chance of doing that to somebody else.”
“For a month now, I’ve laid down and closed my eyes and closed my eyes only to see the same things over, and over, again. My daddy laying in his own shop, moaning and groaning, with a complete stranger.
Judge, I have to re-live that day, every day, for the rest of my life. Please explain to me how he has the opportunity to go home. Nothing’s changed between Feb. 8 and today, so why are we even here?”
During the first bond hearing on February 9, a magistrate judge ordered Kennedy to stay in jail, leaving the decision to be made by a circuit court judge.
In the second bond hearing, a circuit court judge continued the hearing, and refused to set bond until a toxicology report was returned.
Solicitor Barry Barnette said on the first court date that Kennedy told law enforcement he had met a friend at Walmart, and took a hit from his buddy’s vape pen, and it was unknown if there was marijuana in the pen or not.
Kennedy’s attorney, Ryan Beasley, said today that he filed a motion for the emergency hearing after submitting new medical records that showed marijuana was in his system, but no alcohol. Beasley asked the judge to consider that Kennedy was a minor, has no criminal record, has proven to be incredibly remorseful, and was still suffering from symptoms from the wreck.
He also claimed that the teenager wasn’t getting the proper care from detention center medical staff.
He also noted that Kennedy was wearing a yellow jumpsuit instead of an orange one, because he was on suicide watch.
“Caleb is a minor and he’s being given Prozac. And the jail wants to give him more Prozac, but he’s still having the same symptoms that are described at the scene of this accident: blacking out, dizziness and his family, they are obviously worried.”
Just a heartbreaking scene for both sides.
Family members lost a loved one, and a talented young man has cost his chance of making it big in country music.
Caleb broke down into tears during the second bond hearing: