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Lamb of God's Randy Blythe indicted on manslaughter charges

December 04, 2012|By Gerrick D. Kennedy
  • The metal band Lamb of God is Mark Morton, left, Randy Blythe, Will Adler, John Campbell and Chris Adler.
The metal band Lamb of God is Mark Morton, left, Randy Blythe, Will Adler,… (Daragh McDonough )

The saga of Lamb of God's Randy Blythe continues with the frontman being indicted on manslaughter charges in the Czech Republic in connection with the death of a fan at a 2010 concert.

The frontman of the Virginia-based metal band spent five weeks incarcerated in a Czech prison earlier this year, accused of pushing a fan offstage during a performance. That fan died from a head injury, and Blythe was facing a potential 10-year sentence.

The singer has denied the charges, but pledged to return to the country if called to trial. The date of his trial has yet to be announced.

When Blythe was detained in late June, Lamb of God was forced to cancel a concert in Prague and scrap a tour with virtual metal outfit Dethklok. He was released on bail in August after a Czech judge previously approved his release on $200,000 bail, but the prosecution challenged the amount and he was held longer.

Upon his release Blythe detailed his incarceration to The Times ahead of the band’s October gig at the Hollywood Palladium. "When I got to the top of the ramp there was a SWAT team there: five guys in masks with machine guns, three plainclothes officers and a female chief investigator," Blythe said of his arrest. "They looked like they were there to snatch somebody from Al Qaeda, not a member of a rock 'n' roll band.

"Then they handed me a piece of paper saying they were charging me with manslaughter, and I was, 'Oh my God.' It was a big shock."

On Monday, Lamb of God’s manager Larry Mazer issued a statement about Blythe’s indictment.

“Obviously, we intend to fight vigorously against these charges as we feel that in no way did Randy intend to cause bodily harm on the young fan who subsequently died from injuries sustained at the show. As he has stated previously, Randy intends to go to Prague to defend himself at trial," Mazer wrote.

"While it is a tragedy that a Lamb of God fan died following a performance by the group, in no way do I feel that Randy did anything improper that led to the young man’s injuries and subsequent death," he continued. "The price of a ticket to a show does not entitle audience members access to a band’s stage. In the years since the murder on stage of Dimebag Darrell Abbott, performers of all genres have had to become more guarded while performing in response to the dangers presented by fans trying to become part of the performance. We believe that Randy responded professionally to the numerous amount of fans rushing the stage that day, a number of them captured on videos that have been posted on the Internet. We have testimony from the venue operator that acknowledges lax security and an improper barricade being used that evening. Numerous testimonies from fans also were contradictory as to the actions of the multiple fans that tried to access the stage. 

"At this point, all that the band, myself, and our lawyers can do is to present a defense and try to convince the panel of judges who will hear the case that Randy is innocent of all charges and that his name and reputation need to be cleared and that he be permitted to carry on with his life and career always mindful that a fan passed away after a Lamb of God performance,” Mazer added.

While Blythe hasn’t yet released a statement since the indictment, he told The Times in October that he’s just hoping for a happy ending.

"The charges are just groundless to me and to a lot of people,” he said. “I feel obliged to go back. This young man's family has suffered through this big media explosion and they deserve some answers. Their child is dead. That's about as bad as it gets."

Gerrick Kennedy

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