Judge in Long Beach Death Case Recuses Self

One of her children was partying on the beach the night Kevin Kennelly died, sources say

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    NEWSLETTERS

    After six weeks of being assigned as the trial judge and after two court hearings, Superior Court Judge Kathleen Lang has recused herself from the Long Beach case involving the July death of a Chicago teen.

    Lang has not responded to a request for comment about the recusal. Indiana law does not require a judge to enter a reason. Sources say there may be several reasons for her decision to step down from the case.

    James Malecek, 19, is charged in the death of Kevin Kennelly's this July following a beach fight in Long Beach, Ind. He faces felony aggravated battery, involuntary manslaughter and battery charges in connection with the deadly incident.

    Those close to Malecek say it's "tough" for the teenager to be in the presence of the supporters of the family of the Mt. Carmel student he's accused of killing. "It's an uncomfortable situation," they say.

    At the first hearing after Jake Malecek turned himself in, Lang also curiously asked the Korean-born, adopted-at-birth Loyola Academy graduate if he "understood the English language," just as ethnic slurs were appearing on inflammatory Internet posts about the beach altercation.

    Malecek has pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated battery, involuntary manslaughter and battery.

    The case will now be overseen by LaPorte County (Ind.) Circuit Court Chief Judge Tom Alevizos.

    Jake Malecek

     

    Kevin Kennelly

     

    Full Coverage: Jake Malecek / Kevin Kennelly