As many as 30 supporters of Beverly teen Kevin Kennelly's family, many wearing brown Mt. Carmel T-shirts with KENNELLY on the back, crowded the courtroom Thursday at a brief hearing in the case against James "Jake" Malecek.
Malecek, 19, is charged in Kennelly's death 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.
On Thursday, for the first time since Malecek turned himself in to police, the father of the victim made a public statement.
"We are here and all of our friends, a lot of our friends and Kevin's friends, are here to seek justice in the matter of the senseless taking of my son's life by James Malecek," Chicago firefighter Kevin Kennelly said. "We are confident that the American legal justice system will provide that, and that in a timely manner this will all be done and we can go on with grieving for the loss of our only child.”
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.
The hearing was brief before Judge Kathleen Lang and was postponed for 30 more days because Lang said the investigative agencies have yet to turn over all of the evidence to both sides.
Malecek is free on bond but unable to begin his freshman year at Texas Christian University.
Sources say he is instead taking college classes in the Chicago area.