Former American Idol contestant Caleb Kennedy will stay in jail at least another day or two as a Circuit Court judge weighs whether to grant bond.
The 17-year-old Kennedy has been in the Spartanburg County Detention Center since Feb. 8, when he was charged with felony DUI with death. Larry Duane Parris, 54, died after he was run over by a 2011 Ford F-150 in the driveway of his rural Pacolet home..
Judge Grace Gilchrist Knie said she would provide a written copy of her ruling on Kennedy’s request for bond within a day or two.
Kennedy’s attorney Ryan Beasley argued that Kennedy was not a flight risk, had family in Spartanburg and was not a danger to the community. He suggested a $20,000 surety bond.
7th Circuit Solicitor Barry Barnette countered that Kennedy was a danger, based on the circumstances of Paris’ death and was a danger to himself.
A decision on bond had been put on hold by another Circuit Court judge, Edward Miller, until a toxicology report was returned from SLED. Both lawyers said they had the results, which showed Kennedy had THC and Prozac, which was prescribed, in his system
Kennedy told law enforcement at the scene he had taken a hit off a vape and “was tripping,” Barnette said.
If convicted of the felony DUI with death charge, Kennedy faces up to 25 years in prison.
Parris’ wife, Donna, wept Thursday as she pleaded with the court to keep Kennedy in jail.
“There were two people involved and the innocent one is dead,” she said.
Kennedy appeared to cry during the hearing when details of the incident were recounted and when Parris spoke.
Parris and her daughter were inside the house when the collision occurred. A friend who was on the phone with Parris told them to check on him because something had happened.
Barnette told the court Kennedy drove 175 yards down a driveway, ran over Parris and was stopped only by a large machine in Parris’ garage.
Kennedy, a Roebuck, SC, native, sang his way to the final five contestants on “American Idol” in 2021 but left the show May 12 after he tolds about a video that showed him producer sitting with someone dressed in what appeared to be a Ku Klux Klan hood. The video was circulated at his school, Dorman High School, and made its way onto social media.
Kennedy’s mother, Anita Guy, said at the time the video was made when her son was 12. The hood was intended to look like one from the movie “The Strangers,” she said. She believed it was leaked by someone jealous of her son’s success.
Kennedy was on season 19 of American Idol, which premiered Feb. 14, 2021.