Kennedy is charged with felony DUI resulting in death and has been held without bond at Spartanburg County Detention Center in South Carolina since the Feb. 8 incident.
He faces up to 25 years in prison and a fine of $10,100 to $25,100 if convicted in the crash that killed 54-year-old boat repairman, Larry Duane Parris of Pacolet, South Carolina in his driveway.
Kennedy “presents a danger to both himself and to the community if released from pre-trial detention,” wrote 7th Circuit Judge Grace Gilchrist Knie in her decision.
The judge said bond can again be considered following a psychiatric evaluation to be performed within 45 days. Kennedy’s bond was also denied in February at the time of his arrest.
Kennedy’s attorney Ryan Beasley said he is disappointed in Knie’s decision Friday.
“Obviously, I do not agree with it,” Beasley said. “A 17-year-old’s mental health is much better at home than in a jail.”
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“The court is concerned regarding the defendant’s mental condition and the defendant’s mental stability based on statements made by counsel at the hearing,” Knie wrote.
She said the antidepressant Prozac had been prescribed and used by Kennedy and that Beasley stated his dosage of Prozac had been increased prior to the Feb. 8 fatal crash.
At Thursday’s bond hearing, 7th Circuit Solicitor Barry Barnette said a toxicology report showed Kennedy had 1.5 nanograms per milliliter of THC, as well as 66 nanograms per milliliter of Prozac in his system the day of the fatal crash.
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Knie said medical documentation regarding Kennedy’s mental health or current medical condition was not presented at Thursday’s hearing, causing her to postpone a decision until Friday.
“It appears that releasing the defendant on his own recognizance will not satisfactorily ensure that he is not an unreasonable risk of danger to himself or to the community,” Knie wrote.
Beasley asked that a $20,000 bond be set because Kennedy cooperated with law enforcement following the fatal crash and was remorseful. He also said Kennedy’s mental health has improved during his detention.
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Barnette and the victim’s widow asked that bond be denied.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving, South Carolina chapter, has represented the Parris family during the proceedings.
Steve Burritt, executive director, released this statement on behalf of the family Friday afternoon:
“We are relieved at the judge’s decision and feel like it is best he remains in jail. We believe a mental evaluation is in fact the best thing in this situation and is in everyone’s best interest. We ask that everyone continues to focus on Larry’s memory and how much we all miss him.”
Kennedy began his “Idol” journey in October 2020 and eventually made it to the top five before abruptly leaving the show after a controversial social media post resurfaced online. In a Snapchat post, Kennedy appeared beside someone wearing what seems to be a Ku Klux Klan hood.