Kennelly Parents Watch Not Guilty Plea

Jake Malecek pleaded not guilty in connection to a July 4 incident in Long Beach, Ind., that left Kevin Kennelly dead

By Dick Johnson
|  Thursday, Jul 14, 2011  |  Updated 10:41 AM CDT
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A woman calls 911 after a fight in Long Beach, Ind., that resulted in the death of high school senior Kevin Kennelly.

A woman calls 911 after a fight in Long Beach, Ind., that resulted in the death of high school senior Kevin Kennelly.

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The parents of Kevin Kennelly, the teen who was killed in an Indiana beach fight July 4, arrived Thursday morning to witness the court hearing for Jake Malecek, the Chicago man charged with delivering their son's fatal blow.

Malecek was escorted into court by his father, who had his arm around his son.

The 19 year old is charged with felony aggravated battery, involuntary manslaughter and battery in connection with the deadly incident in Long Beach, Ind.

Seated in the gallery, the Kennellys stared stone-faced at the court proceeding while James Kiefer Malecek recited his full name to Judge Kathleen Lang. 

Curiously, Lang then asked the Korean-born Loyola Academy graduate, "Do you understand the English language?"  

He told her he will be a freshman at Texas Christian University in the fall. 

She asked if he is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He says, "Vyvance, an ADHD medication." 

Malecek pleaded not guilty during the hearing. He surrendered his passport as a condition of his $25,000 cash bond with an agreement that he can reside outside Indiana at his family home on Chicago's North Side.

His lawyers previously said that Malecek's sister was confronted July 4 by a group of intoxicated Mt. Carmel students that night, and those individuals subjected her to ethnic slurs. Malecek came to his sister's defense, they said, and was outnumbered.

Sources said that what transpired wasn't a brawl, but one sucker punch to Kennelly's head as he tried to break up the argument.

Friends and classmates of Kennelly's, who attended a service last week to pray for the teen, said he was a well-mannered student whose parents taught him non-violence.

After the hearing, Kennelly's father angrily motioned an NBC cameraman out of the way as he and his wife left court. A close family friend confronted and pushed an ABC7 cameraman. 

Malecek must report to a probation officer beginning next Wednesday.

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