Plea reached in LaPorte County fatal fight

2013-04-10T19:00:00Z 2013-04-10T21:56:47Z Plea reached in LaPorte County fatal fightStan Maddux Times Correspondent
April 10, 2013 7:00 pm  • 

LAPORTE | A 20-year-old Chicago man has agreed to spend time behind bars for a punch that resulted in the death of a 17-year-boy in Long Beach.

James Malecek has entered guilty plea that calls for 145 actual days in the LaPorte County Jail for Class C felony involuntary manslaughter.

The balance of the four year sentence would be served on electronic monitoring.

A hearing in the case has been scheduled for May 16 for the plea to be formally submitted to the court and possible sentencing by Judge Tom Alevizos.

LaPorte County Prosecutor Bob Szilagyi did not want to discuss specifics of the plea agreement submitted to the court March 14 because of the case still pending.

Typically, Szilagyi said plea agreements are submitted to the court during a formal hearing and the court takes the terms under advisement before sentencing at least one month later.

In this case, the plea was filed with the court without a formal hearing.

The defendant and victim have family members from the Chicago area and it would be more convenient for all parties involved to have the formal submission of the plea and sentencing at one hearing, said Szilagyi.

"Everybody is from Chicago and we didn't want the parents coming back and forth," said Szilagyi.

Malecek, whose family also has a summer home in Long Beach, is accused of punching Kevin Kennelly during a July 4 beach party at 2611 Lakeshore Drive.

An autopsy found Kennelly, whose family also has a summer home in Long Beach, was struck in the head.

According to police, Kennelly may have been trying to break up an altercation when hit by a punch allegedly thrown by Malecek, who might have been a target of racism prior to the fight.

Malecek is of Korean descent.

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