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'American Idol' finalist Jaered Andrews arrested, charged with assault

By Wade Paulsen, 03/04/2003 

Sometimes a good cover story can hide the truth for a while, but it usually comes out eventually. Back on February 1, we reported that American Idol finalist Jaered Andrews had been disqualified from the show because Fox learned about his former membership in a professional hip-hop group, Ordinary Peoples from Youngstown, Ohio. Turns out that the truth was more sinister.

The Smoking Gun reports that the REAL reason Jaered was disqualified was his arrest on charges of committing an assault that led to a man's death. Apparently, Jaered and his friends went to a restaurant and bar in Farrell, Pennsylvania on November 16, 2002 to celebrate his selection as an American Idol semifinalist. While at the bar, they became involved in an argument with 39-year-old Thomas Blakeley. The argument spilled onto the sidewalk outside the club, where Jaered allegedly punched Blakeley in the face, causing Blakeley to fall over and strike his head on the pavement.

While Blakeley was down and unconscious, one of Jaered's friends allegedly hit him a couple more times, pounding Blakeley's skull some more. Blakeley never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead from the injuries his skull sustained from the pavement. Jareed was charged with assault, and his friend was charged with aggravated assault. Jaered still qualified as one of the Idol finalists, but he was immediately disqualifed by the producers. Extra! notes that one of the executive producers felt that a killer brawler wouldn't make the ideal Idol.

Jaered is currently free on $5000 bail, pending a hearing on March 7. His next professional appearence after that may be in the prison choir.

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