Weather Updates

Victim’s father: Man accused of killing Beverly teen at beach agrees to plea deal

James Malecek

James Malecek

storyidforme: 46256883
tmspicid: 5223193
fileheaderid: 2534004

Updated: March 16, 2013 1:43AM

A 20-year-old Lakeview man who allegedly punched and killed a Beverly teenager two years ago on a Indiana beach has agreed to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter in a deal with prosecutors and will serve some jail time and four years probation, according to the father of the victim.

However LaPorte County, Ind., prosecutor would only say that “no agreement has been submitted at this point,” and that he would have more information next week, in an email to the Sun-Times.

James Malacek, of the 3800 block of North Marshfield, was 19-years-old when he was charged with striking and killing Kevin Kennelly Jr., 17, during a fight on an Indiana beach of the Fourth of July, 2011.

At the time, both families owned vacation homes in the resort community of Long Beach, where the fight happened. Both teens attended Catholic high schools, Malacek Loyola Academy in Wilmette and Kennelly, Mount Carmel High School in Chicago.

Authorities never released details of how the fight started but a civil wrongful death suit filed by Kennelly’s family alleged Malacek and his sister were drunk and that she provoked a disturbance that led to a fight between Malacek and one of Kennelly’s friends. When Kennelly asked Malacek to calm down, Malacek punched him, the suit alleged.

Kennelly was the only son of Chicago Fire Department Lieutenant Kevin Kennelly Sr. and his wife, Jean.

Kennelly’s father said prosecutors told him the deal would involve jail time and a total of four years probation.

An NBC Channel 5 report said Malacek would get 145 days of jail time under the deal, followed by electronic monitoring.

Kennelly said he was satisfied with the deal and that he had not expected to see Malacek get much jail time at all.

“I got to hand it to them. Robert Neary, the [LaPorte County, Ind.] prosecutor has been seeking justice for Kevin for over a year and a half,” Kennelly said. “There’s losers on all sides here, there are no winners.”

Even so, he said, “It’s kind of a relief to have this part of it done with so we won’t have to hear the gut-wrenching details in court.”

He also said it would have been hard on Kevin’s friends who were with him when he was killed “to get on a witness stand and go have to go through watching their friend get killed again.”

However Kennelly credited those friends for helping to bring about the plea deal. “It’s on the strength of their depositions that they’re agreeing to a plea deal in the first place.”

Prosecutors and attorneys for Malacek did not return requests for comment.

Malacek has been free on bond since a he turned himself in a few days after the fight.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.