Former American Idol contestant Caleb Kennedy was denied bond for a fourth time at his bond hearing this past Friday.
The 17-year-old Roebuck, South Carolina native was charged with DUI resulting in death back in February, after driving his car off the road, striking and killing 54-year-old Larry Duane Parris as he was standing outside of his garage.
He faces up to 25 years in prison and a fine of $10,100 to $25,100 if convicted.
According to GoUpstate, 7th Circuit Judge Grace Gilchrist Knie said Kennedy:
“Presents a danger to both himself and to the community if released from pre-trial detention.”
The judge noted that bond can be considered following a psychiatric evaluation to be performed within 45 days.
Kennedy’s attorney Ryan Beasley said he was disappointed in the judge’s decision:
“Obviously, I do not agree with it. A 17-year-old’s mental health is much better at home than in jail.”
Judge Knie wrote:
“The court is concerned regarding the defendant’s mental condition and the defendant’s mental stability based on statements made by counsel at the hearing.”
She said that the antidepressant Prozac had been prescribed and used by Kennedy, and the dosage has increased since February 8th.
At Thursday’s bond hearing, 7th Circuit Solicitor Barry Barnette said a toxicology report showed Kennedy had 1.5 nanograms per milliliter of THC, along with 66 nanograms per milliliter of Prozac in his system the day of the crash.
South Carolina is one of the few states were marijuana is completely illegal, however in Illinois for example, 5 nanograms per milliliter is the DUI threshold so as Kennedy’s lawyer argued, we’re talking about a trace amount of THC.
Judge Knie said Beasley stated that Kennedy has continued the use of Prozac for some time while in detention, and had been placed on suicide watch by detention facility personnel.
She said medical documentation regarding Kennedy’s mental health or current medical condition were not present during Thursday’s hearing.
The judge postponed the decision Thursday, then issued the ruling Friday afternoon.
Judge Knie continued:
“It appears that releasing the defendant on his own recognizance will not satisfactorily ensure that he is not an unreasonable risk of danger to himself or to the community.”
Beasley asked that a $20,000 bond be set because Kennedy was cooperative and remorseful to law enforcement after the fatal wreck, while also noting that his mental health has improved since first going to detention.
Barnette and the victim’s widow asked that bond be denied.