Skateboarder Terry Kennedy gets 5 years in prison for battery that led to Wheaton man's death

Professional skateboarder and television personality Terry Kennedy has been sentenced to five years in prison for an attack that fatally injured a Wheaton man.

DuPage County Judge Michael W. Reidy sentenced Kennedy, 37, on Tuesday.

Reidy found Kennedy guilty of aggravated battery in December but acquitted him of first-degree murder.

Kennedy, of Long Beach, California, appeared in several MTV shows, some skateboarding video games and a music video for Snoop Dogg's “Drop It Like It's Hot” song. He co-founded the Fly Society clothing and music brand.

He was visiting his girlfriend in Wheaton in the summer of 2021. He became friends with Josiah Kassahun, 23, of Wheaton, a fan who recognized Kennedy when Kennedy was out skateboarding one day.

When Kennedy was to return to California on July 27, 2021, he, his girlfriend and Kassahun spent a night at a hotel in Oakbrook Terrace, with Kassahun and the girlfriend drinking that night and early the next day. In the morning, the girlfriend and Kennedy argued when she told him she was unfit to drive him to the airport and suggested he take an Uber.

Kassahun told Kennedy to “calm down.” Kennedy and Kassahun got out of the car, and Kennedy punched Kassahun in the face. Kassahun fell to the ground, hitting his head on the pavement. The girlfriend told police Kennedy then kicked him. But during the trial, she said she was not sure about that.

Kassahun suffered internal injuries, a fractured skull, a broken eye socket and bleeding on his brain. He underwent emergency brain surgery but died four days later.

Also on Tuesday, Kennedy pleaded guilty to one count of threatening a public official and was sentenced to five years in prison on that charge.

While being detained by Wheaton police on July 28, 2021, Kennedy threatened a police officer nine times, including referring to the murder of a police officer in Whittier, California.

Kennedy must serve at least 50% of each sentence before being eligible for parole. He received credit for the more than 1½ years he has spent in jail awaiting trial and sentencing.

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