SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Caleb Kennedy, the 17-year-old former American Idol contestant charged in a deadly February crash, will remain in jail following a third court hearing.
Kennedy’s defense attorney called for the emergency hearing Thursday morning where he asked for a judge to set a bond. The court room was filled with emotions and questions surrounding his time behind bars.
“This is no different from any other case that’s been in this county before this court on a 17-year-old that’s a B.A. of 0.18 where they have given bond. I just don’t understand,” said Ryan Beasley, Caleb Kennedy’s defense attorney. “There is nothing else that could be any different, even if the blood shows that he has some kind of THC or other kind of drug in there.”
Kennedy faces a felony DUI with death charge after he allegedly drove his truck off the road in early February, hitting 54-year-old Larry Parris on his private driveway. Parris later died from his injuries.
Medical records show Kennedy was under the influence of marijuana and double the dose of his prescribed medication, Prozac when the accident occurred.
“Larry doesn’t have the option to come home and spend time with his family and sleep in his own bed,” Donna Parris, the victim’s wife said with tears in her eyes. “He didn’t do anything wrong. I ask you to deny bond please.”
According to the Parris family’s spokesperson, each time they return to court, they relive the tragedy.
“They are absolutely devastated, in all honesty. They keep feeling like they lose him over and over again, every time they are drug back into court,” said Kimberly Cockrell, victim services manager for Mother’s Against Drunk Driving.
Kennedy was not granted bond in early February during his initial hearing in magistrate court and a circuit court judge delayed bond in his second appearance to allow time for medical evidence, including a blood toxicology report from the State Law Enforcement Division, to become available. According to Kennedy’s defense attorney, that analysis could take several months to complete.
“He did ask for the report because we didn’t have the medical records at the time,” said Beasley. “And just so the courts well aware, SLED has been backed up anywhere from three to six months.”
On Thursday, Circuit Court Judge Daniel Hall said conditions set in the previous circuit court hearing had not been met to allow bond to be set.
“There is no complete blood toxicology report. That has not been presented to the court today,” said Judge Hall. “Nothing has changed, those conditions have not been met. There hasn’t been a change in circumstances so I’m not going to go any further with this bond hearing today.”
Kennedy will remain at the Spartanburg County Detention Center until his blood toxicology report returns from SLED.