Wrongful death suit filed in fatal beach beating
Sun-Times Media January 18, 2012 9:58PM
Updated: February 21, 2012 8:34AM
The parents of a 17-year-old boy who died after being beaten in a Fourth of July brawl on a Lake Michigan beach near Michigan City filed a wrongful death suit Wednesday against the man charged in connection with his death as well as members of his family.
Jean and Kevin Kennelly Sr. of the Beverly neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side claim Anne Malecek was drunk and became verbally abusive and then struck Kevin Kennelly Jr.’s friend on July 4, 2011, in Long Beach, according to a lawsuit in Cook County (Ill.) Circuit Court. Long Beach is just east of Michigan City.
Kennelly’s friend did not retaliate, but Anne contacted her brother, James Malecek, and sought to instigate a confrontation between the two, the suit said. Anne failed to tell her brother that Kennelly was not involved in the argument with his friend, the suit said.
During the warrant hearing, Long Beach Police Chief Robert Sulkowski testified that James Malecek hit Kennelly in the head during the fight. Kennelly was pronounced dead July 6, 2011, at St. Anthony Medical Center in Crown Point.
An autopsy by the Lake County coroner determined that blunt force trauma to the head was the cause of death and that Kennelly’s death was a homicide. Malecek, then 19, of Chicago was charged with felony aggravated battery, involuntary manslaughter and battery.
The suit claims the Malecek siblings’ mother, Marguerite Maleck, drove her children to the beach and permitted her minor daughter, Anne, to have alcoholic beverages. Anne and James Malecek became intoxicated, impairing their judgment and understanding of events, the suit said. Both failed to help Kevin, despite knowing he was severely injured, and fled the scene.
Marguerite arrived in a vehicle and picked her children up on Lake Shore Road, near the beach where Kennelly lay unconscious and dying, the suit said. She then secluded and hid Malecek for several days to hide physical evidence on his body, including evidence of his intoxication.
The wrongful death suit seeks a jury trial, damages, attorney fees and court costs.