U.S. singer awaits prison release
New details emerge on Lamb of God frontman's arrest for manslaughter
Posted: July 11, 2012
A lawyer for Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe says he hopes his client will be granted another bail hearing as soon as possible, as the U.S. heavy metal singer awaits his release from Czech prison.
Tomáš Morysek, who is part of Blythe's defense team and who visited him in prison July 10, said the 41-year-old is "maintaining his innocence and should be freed immediately."
Blythe faces manslaughter charges for the death of a fan two years ago.
By press time, the singer had been jailed at Pankrác Prison for almost two weeks. But uncertainty remains over how much longer he will stay there.
Blythe, who has already posted bail of 4 million Kč ($197,000/156,000 euros), is being held in custody in connection with an incident at a gig in Prague in May 2010.
The 19-year-old, named only as Daniel N., was allegedly pushed off the stage by Blythe and hit his head on the concrete floor below. He died of those injuries one month later following a coma.
Although the money has been paid, the bail system in the Czech Republic is more restrictive than in other countries because it is usually subject to an appeal.
Štěpánka Zenklová from the State Attorney's Office confirmed the prosecutor had indeed challenged Blythe's bail and its conditions. This process could take several days, as the complaint has to be sent from the Prague 8 District Court to the city's Municipal Court.
Martin Holub, a lawyer at Šafra & Partners, says if bail is revoked, Blythe could be kept in prison for up to six months, the duration of the criminal trial.
"The authorities will be concerned about him leaving the country and then having to begin extradition proceedings," Holub said. "If, however, the appeal court confirms the decision of the previous court, Randy Blythe should be released on the day that decision is made."
While much remains unanswered in this case, key questions arise. First, was anyone else involved in the alleged incident? And second, at what stage, if any, did Czech authorities contact their U.S. counterparts about the fan's death?
Amateur videos of the gig have surfaced on YouTube, which show a man in the audience coming onto the stage three times. In the third video, what appears to be a security guard hauls the man over the barrier. Lamb of God's manager, Larry Mazer, says this proves Blythe's innocence.
"The video clearly shows the security guard throwing the kid to the floor," Mazer said. "He's lying prone on the ground. If there's a charge to be had, then this is the clear-cut shot."
However, a friend of Daniel N.'s who attended the gig but did not wish to be named, told The Prague Post that none of the videos is of the alleged incident, and that Blythe was to blame.
"There are many videos which do not even show Dan," the friend said. "He got up onstage only once, at the end of the concert. Randy was brutal, and pushed Dan down where nobody could catch him. I don't think he meant to kill Dan. But I hope he will be punished."
Adding fuel to the fire, several Czech fan sites seem to confirm this account. The blog Sicmaggot claimed May 28, 2010, that Blythe had "behaved like he didn't care about the fans." Another gig review from the night on Abysszine.com condemned the "mildly controversial approach from Lamb of God toward stage divers."
Mazer was quick to refute the suggestion that Lamb of God gigs are violent, saying the band "encourages the audience to do nothing but sing along." He also slammed the controversial act of stage-diving.
"At most heavy-metal concerts these days, kids feel like they're entitled to come up and stage dive," he said. "This is the culture now. It absolutely should not be allowed. It's idiocy."
Meanwhile, police say they have been investigating the case since 2010, but spokeswoman Eva Kropáčová would not comment on whether they had any other suspects or whether there had been communication with U.S. authorities.
The tabloid Blesk reported July 5 Czech police had tried in vain to seek cooperation from the FBI 18 months after the fatal incident.
However, Mazer said he found that hard to believe, since the gig's organizer, Obscure Promotion, was first contacted by police three months after the show, and Lamb of God themselves were apparently unaware of any incident until landing in Prague June 27.
"It's a botched investigation," he said. "The police went through the motions and forgot about it until someone notified them the band was coming back to Prague."
"It's strictly eyewitness accounts. What holds more weight? Those or the videos?" he added.
But as the game of "he says, she says" continues, so does the pain of a mother who lost her son.
"I can't handle it without you," she wrote on Facebook. "I'm at rock bottom. I hope we'll meet again soon, because life without you is suffering."
Jonathan Crane can be reached at