'American Idol' Alum Caleb Kennedy Faces Family of Man He Killed in Crash in Emotional Court Hearing
Former American Idol contestant Caleb Kennedy faced the family of Larry Duane Parris, the man he killed in a crash in Spartanburg, South Carolina earlier this month. Kennedy on Thursday made a virtual court appearance, marking his second bond hearing, where Parris' family, including his daughter Kelsi and wife Donna, gave an emotional plea, asking the judge to deny his bond. Kennedy has been charged with felony driving under the influence resulting in death after he crashed his 2011 Ford pick-up truck into a workshop, fatally injuring Parris, 54. Authorities allege Kennedy was under the influence at the time of the crash.
Addressing the court with her mother at her side, an emotional Kelsi detailed life without her father, sharing, "I see my daddy laying in his own shop, moaning and groaning, with a stranger not even calling 911," according to The State. She continued, "He killed my dad, point-blank. I wish I could pay a little bit of money or a lot of money to have my daddy back."
"I hear my screams begging for him to look at me and stay awake. I hear the firefighters cutting the door to get in there to him. I hear the surgeon telling us he's not going to survive," she continued, per local news stations WYFF and WSPA. "If I have to relive that every day for the rest of my life, please explain to me how he even has the opportunity to see the light of day ever again. Him! He did this! He should have to sit there. We request that bond be denied."
Throughout the hearing, Kennedy, who competed on American Idol Season 19 before he was forced to withdraw from the competition, could be seen crying, including during Kelsi' testimony and again when photos of the scene were shown. A circuit judge ultimately denied Kennedy's bond, the judge stating they instead want to wait to view Kennedy's toxicity report before deciding on bond. According to prosecutors, Kennedy inhaled from a vape pen prior to the deadly crash, and an arrest warrant revealed the singer had marijuana in his system when the crash occurred.
In a statement following the hearing, Kennedy's defense attorney, Ryan Beasley, slammed the denial of bond, stating that it "could be months and months before we could get back in court and there are much more egregious cases than this on a felony DUI that are given bond. He just barely turned 17, judge." Beasley added that it "is unfair to this kid to be sitting in jail for months on a backlog with SLED and the fact that a magistrate judge down in jail didn't do his job anyway and set a bond. I am just sorry judge, but I am standing up and saying a bond should be set today." According to WSPA, Kennedy's appearance for General Sessions Court is scheduled for April 14. A date for his next bond hearing has not been set.