Spartanburg, SC ( Associated Press) — A South Carolina judge has charged a former “American Idol” contestant with murdering a man with his pickup truck after using a marijuana vaping device.
Country music singer Caleb Kennedy will remain in prison following his arrest in February, for which he died on charges of driving under the influence. Police say Kennedy drove his truck onto a private driveway in Spartanburg County and hit 54-year-old Larry Duane Paris, driving Paris into a building.
Circuit Judge Grace Gilchrist Nye ruled Friday that Kennedy would endanger herself and the community if released from prison. News outlets reported that Nye said she could renegotiate the bond for Kennedy after a psychiatric evaluation in 45 days.
Prosecutors sought to deny Bond at Thursday’s hearing and cited a toxicology report that showed Kennedy had marijuana and Prozac at the time of the accident.
According to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Kennedy’s attorney, Ryan Beasley, asked the judge to set a $20,000 bond, citing Kennedy’s remorse and cooperation with law enforcement.
Beasley told news outlets he was disappointed with the judge’s decision.
“The mental health of a 17-year-old is much better at home than in prison,” Beasley said.
Beasley has previously said that his client was placed on suicide watch in prison.
Kennedy advanced into the Top 5 of Television Talent Shows last year, but dropped out of the singing competition after a video aired of him sitting next to someone who appeared to be a Ku Klux Klan hood. Kennedy apologized for the video at the time, saying it “demonstrated actions that weren’t meant to be done that way.”
Kennedy’s mother, Anita Guy, told news outlets that the video was filmed when Kennedy was 12 years old and was taken out of context. He said that Kennedy was imitating characters from the movie “The Strangers: Pre at Night”.
Kennedy’s hometown is listed as Roebuck, south of Spartanburg.
If found guilty, he could face up to 25 years in prison.