The parents of a Chicago teenager who police said was killed after another Chicago teen punched him at an Indiana beach on July 4th filed a wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday against the teen accused of throwing the punch, his sister and his mother.
James Malecek, of Chicago, is charged in LaPorte County, Ind., with aggravated battery, involuntary manslaughter and battery in the death of Kevin Kennelly Jr., 17, who lived in the Beverly neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. He has pleaded not guilty.
Malecek, who was 19 at the time of the incident, is accused of punching Kennelly in the head at a beach in the 2600 block of Lake Shore Drive in Long Beach, Ind. Police said Kennelly was unconscious when they arrived. He died less than two days later in a Crown Point hospital. An autopsy report said Kennelly, who had just completed his junior year at Mount Carmel High School, died from blunt force trauma to the head.
The lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of Jean and Kevin Kennelly Sr. names as defendants Malecek, his sister and their mother, Marguerite.
The suit alleges James Malecek and his sister were drunk and that she instigated a disturbance that led to her brother allegedly trying to start a fight with one of Kennelly's friends. The suit also alleges James Malecek punched Kennelly after Kennelly asked him to calm down.
According to the complaint, Marguerite Malecek "gave, supplied, encouraged or permitted" her daughter, who was a minor, "to go to the beach supplied with alcoholic beverages." Marguerite Malecek is also accused in the suit of destroying evidence by picking up her children after they fled the beach, preventing police from gathering evidence of her children's alleged intoxication.
James Voyles – one of James Malecek’s attorneys in the criminal case – declined comment Thursday on the allegations made in the lawsuit, stating he had yet to see the filing. Calls to the Malecek home were not returned.
Malecek is next due in court June 29 in the criminal case, and a trial is scheduled to begin July 30, Voyles said.
Reporter Kate Thayer contributed.