Former American Idol contestant, Caleb Kennedy, accused of running over a man with his pickup truck and killing him will remain in a South Carolina jail while toxicology results from state investigators are still pending, said a judge Thursday.
Circuit Judge Daniel Hall ended the virtual hearing without setting bond for the 17 year old country music singer who competed on American Idol in 2021.
Caleb’s defense attorney called for the emergency hearing Thursday morning where he asked for a judge to set a bond. The teen had been denied bond in two prior hearings.
“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.”
Caleb faces a felony DUI with death charge
The teen faces a felony DUI with death charge after allegedly driving his truck off the road in early February, hitting 54 year old Larry Parris on his private driveway. Caleb crashed the truck into a garage while the vehicle continued dragging the man. 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.”
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. Caleb’s attorney says the analysis could take several months to complete.
Caleb, dressed in a yellow jumpsuit, is on suicide watch
“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.”
Beasley noted that the medical records from Spartanburg Regional showed Caleb had THC in his system, indicating that he smoked pot. But Solicitor Barry Barnett argued that the hospital test shows only alcohol, not everything that could be in his system.
Caleb remained stoic, dressed in a yellow jumpsuit which his attorney said reflected the fact that his client was on suicide watch. Beasley also said that Caleb needed medical help that the jail could not give. “They keep trying to up his Prozac,” he said.
Caleb was disqualified from American Idol after racist video surfaced
Caleb Kennedy made it to the Top 5 on American Idol 19 last year based on the strength of his songwriting ability. But before the Top 5 took to the Idol stage to compete, a video surfaced of Caleb sitting next to a male wearing what looked like a white K-K-K hood. Producers disqualified him immediately, and erased all traces of the country singer from their site, including video performances. An original song he recorded never dropped. But He later recorded and released the song, “Raised on Dirt” on his own.
Despite the setback on Idol, Kennedy was lining up Nashville songwriters who were collaborating with the young singer on his next record. His hometown never stopped believing in him, as fans lined up to attend his first concert after leaving the show.