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SPARTANBURG, SC: A South Carolina judge has denied bond for a former “American Idol” contestant accused of killing a man by barreling into him with his pickup truck after using a marijuana vaping device. Country music singer Caleb Kennedy will remain in jail after his February arrest on a charge of driving under the influence resulting in death.
Police say Kennedy drove his truck up a private driveway in Spartanburg County and struck Larry Duane Parris, 54, driving Parris into a building. Circuit Judge Grace Gilchrist Knie ruled Friday that Kennedy would present a danger to himself and the community if he was released from jail. Knie said she might reconsider bond for Kennedy following a psychiatric evaluation in 45 days, news outlets reported.
Prosecutors at a hearing sought the bond denial and referred to a toxicology report showing Kennedy had marijuana and Prozac in his system at the time of the crash. Kennedy’s attorney, Ryan Beasley, had asked the judge to set a $20,000 bond, citing Kennedy’s remorse and cooperation with law enforcement, according to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Beasley told news outlets he was disappointed in the judge’s decision. “A 17-year-old’s mental health is much better at home than in a jail,” Beasley said. Beasley has said previously that his client had been placed on suicide watch at the jail.
Kennedy advanced into the Top 5 of the television talent show last year, but dropped out of the singing competition after a video circulated of him sitting next to someone wearing what appeared to be a Ku Klux Klan hood.
Kennedy apologized at the time for the video, saying “it displayed actions that were not meant to be taken in that way.” Kennedy’s mother, Anita Guy, told news outlets the video was filmed when Kennedy was 12 and had been taken out of context. She said Kennedy had been imitating characters from the film “The Strangers: Prey at Night.” Kennedy’s hometown is listed as Roebuck, which is just south of Spartanburg. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted. (AP)