'Idol' Contestant Charged with Assault

03/03/2003 at 10:12 AM EST

Jaered Andrews was one of this season's "American Idol" hopefuls until he was disqualified from the show for undisclosed reasons on Jan. 30.

But now we might know why: The former finalist has been charged with assault in connection with a bar fight in Pennsylvania last November that ended in the death of another man, according to the Smoking Gun Web site.

Andrews, of Youngstown, Ohio, reportedly surrendered to police this past Friday on a warrant charging him with the assault of Thomas Blakeley, 39, who later died. Andrews was released on $5,000 bond and faces a March 7 preliminary hearing on the misdemeanor charge.

Police tell the Smoking Gun that Andrews and some friends had been celebrating his selection as an "Idol" semifinalist when they began arguing with Blakeley.

According to the criminal complaint, Andrews told police that he punched Blakeley once in the face, causing him to fall back on the outside pavement "with his eyes closed" and strike his head.

Blakeley was then allegedly struck twice by Jerrold Allen, an Andrews crony who has been charged with aggravated assault. As reported in the police complaint, an autopsy found that Blakeley died of blunt force trauma to the head.

For its part, FOX has refused to discuss why Andrews was disqualified from the show, according to the Smoking Gun.

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