The parents of a Chicago teenager have filed a wrongful death suit in his name, laying charges at the feet of the man the police say struck him on the head last July. Jean Kennelly and Kevin Kennelly, Sr. filed the suit in Cook County in the name of their deceased son, Kevin Kennelly, Jr. The defendants named are James Malecek, now 20, his sister who is a juvenile, and his mother, Marguerite Malecek.
Malecek is already set to face felony charges in a criminal trial stemming from the same incident. These charges include involuntary manslaughter, aggravated battery and battery.
The case is an unusual one. The Kennellys have accepted that this case may take years to work through due to a backup of civil cases in the Cook County system, because Chicago subpoenas have more force than nearby Indiana’s. Both the Kennellys and Maleceks live in Illinois full time at the moment.
Kevin Kennelly Sr. commented, “In Indiana, the defense is not required to submit certain documents without going through a number of hurdles.” Such restrictions are nonexistent or much more lax in Chicago and Illinois, making it the stronger place to stage their suit.
Further, the Kennellys expressed a desire to help the prosecution with the criminal case. There were a number of discovery issues in the felony investigation, which prompted the Kennellys to make the decision to file their case.
According to the Kennellys, the fight was instigated by the Maleceks — James and his sister were consuming alcohol, despite her being underage. This led to an argument, potentially initiated by the sister in question, and the fight that saw Kevin Kennelly, Jr. killed. Marguerite Malecek is named in the suit for allegedly allowing her under-age daughter to drink alcohol.
The Kennellys have stated that whether or not they see any actual, physical settlement from the matter, they are content in simply causing the Maleceks additional legal costs in case they attempt to stonewall the criminal investigation.