James Malecek, man charged in NW Indiana beating death of Kevin Kennelly, to spend 145 days behind bars

James Malecek will spend 145 days in prison for throwing the fatal punch that killed a Chicago teenager at a beach party. (sketch of james malecek)
May 17, 2013 9:20:18 AM PDT
James Malecek will spend 145 days in prison for throwing the fatal punch that killed a Chicago teenager at a beach party.

Malecek, 20, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, a Class C felony, in the 2011 death of 17-year-old Kevin Kennelly. Other charges against Malecek, such as battery and aggravated battery, were dropped. He was sentenced to four years in prison, but will only be required to spend 145 days behind bars. He'll be on electronic monitoring for the rest of the sentence.

Kennelly died after he was punched in the head while trying to break up a fight at a Fourth of July party on a northwest Indiana beach.

"There's no way in the criminal justice system to make somebody whole when they've been victimized this way," Christopher Fronk, deputy LaPorte County prosecutor, said.

Malecek will report to authorities on July 1, and begin serving his sentence then. Kennelly's parents have filed a wrongful death suit.

"He's been given a gift. He did it. He's being very lightly sentenced for it," Kevin Kennelly Sr., said.

Malecek read a statement in court Thursday, which said in part, "Mr. and Mrs. Kennelly, I never intended to injure your son, Kevin, and I accept full responsibility for my actions... it was a tragic accident."


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