Blythe manslaughter trial gets under way
Lamb of God front man criticizes security at concert venue where fan died
Posted: February 6, 2013
Randy Blythe, 41, who leads the heavy-metal band Lamb of God, appeared Feb. 4 for the start of his trial at Prague Municipal Court.
Randy Blythe had vowed to return to the Czech Republic to clear his name, and the lead singer of the heavy-metal band Lamb of God kept that promise Feb. 4 as he arrived for the first day of his manslaughter trial at Prague Municipal Court.
With a pack of photographers in tow, Blythe refused to comment to the media ahead of the trial but cut a relaxed figure while waiting for the court to open its doors to the assembled lawyers and journalists. The front man is accused of throwing a fan off the stage during a concert at Prague's Club Abaton in 2010. That fan, 19-year-old Daniel N., later died of head injuries sustained from his fall.
Formally indicting Blythe, State Attorney Vladimír Mužík said the 41-year-old from Richmond, Virginia, had invited members of the crowd up onstage but then pushed them down. "You knew the stage was high and your actions would be dangerous," he added.
Blythe, who had cut his metal-style long hair for the occasion, protested his innocence, criticizing the security arrangements at the venue and denying he had gestured for fans to join him. He revealed how he had been worried there was no metal barrier in place to prevent them from climbing onto the stage, evoking fears for his and their safety.
"The death of a fan is heartbreaking," Blythe said. "I'm not a man who runs from his problems, but I do not wish to be punished [for] and suffer the consequences of an act I did not commit."
Although the singer admitted to forcing one man, Milan Pořádek, off the stage, who had evaded bouncers three times, he said he didn't do that to Daniel N. "I never saw [Daniel N.] or came into contact with him," Blythe replied when asked by presiding Judge Tomáš Kubovec whether he could corroborate witness reports to the contrary.
Mužík, who at one point during proceedings appeared to fall asleep, probed the American on his history of substance abuse and drinking. Blythe replied he had never taken drugs and gave up alcohol in 2010, but after the particular concert in question.
In the afternoon, Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler and the band's manager, Larry Mazer, gave evidence. Both men praised Blythe's character, labeling him quiet and well-read. Any aggressive tendencies were simply part of his onstage persona, they said.
Watching from the public gallery was Daniel N.'s mother. She looked visibly upset throughout the hearing and broke down in tears when amateur footage from the concert was played for the court. In it, Blythe could be seen aiding the removal of Pořádek from the stage.
While day one of the trial centered largely on testimonies supporting the front man, the second day began with witnesses who attended the concert. The three that had spoken as of press time Feb. 5 all claimed Blythe did indeed shove Daniel N. from the stage, although they seemed to contradict each other on the exact version of events.
For example, one of the witnesses, Ondřej Vlach, a friend of Daniel N.'s, said the singer wasn't even on the stage when the teenage fan appeared there but had, in fact, run from the dressing room to push him off in an "unnecessarily aggressive manner." The other two witnesses failed to mention this at all.
Blythe could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison if he is found guilty of the charge. Daniel N.'s family is also seeking some 10 million Kč in damages. Addressing the court Feb. 4, Kubovec said he hoped the trial would be wrapped up by the end of the week.
Jonathan Crane can be reached at