After dragging on for nearly a year, it looks like Randy Blythe, the frontman for American heavy metal group Lamb Of God, has finally cleared his name of charges over the death of a Czech fan at a concert in 2010.
Blythe was originally arrested back in June 2012 by Czech police on manslaughter charges in connection with the 2010 death of a 19-year-old at a Lamb of God concert in Prauge, and after spending five weeks in a Czech Republic jail, Blythe was then freed to head home in August 2012 without charges and posted €237,000 (approx. $305,235) bail; only to be charged again and formally indicted by the State Attorney’s Office in Prague on the manslaughter charge.
The legal wrangling and yo-yoing seems to have been put to rest now, with News Ltd reporting that the Prague court has acquitted the frontman of charges of involuntary manslaughter.
The 42-year-old’s trial began on February 4th, facing accusations that he’d pushed 19-year-old Daniel Nosek off the stage during a headline Lamb Of God show at a Prague venue in 2010. Nosek fell from the stage onto the concrete floor, only to rush the stage several more times and continually ejected from the stage, sustaining head injuries that eventually claimed his life two weeks after the concert.
The band and many in the metal community protested Blythe’s innocence, and fan footage from the concert surfaced that showed that Blythe did not touch Nosek, but instead it was unruly fans that had muscled him from the stage.“If I thought that I was guilty, I would admit it… If I am guilty I will take it like a man.” – Randy Blythe, Lamb Of God
Blythe’s innocence was proven by Judge Tomas Kubovec’s ruling, who said that Nosek had attempted to get onstage because he had misinterpreted Blythe’s call for greater applause which would have been “absolutely understandable for English speakers,” according to court reports.
According to Czech news site Novinky (via the Independent) Blythe also told the court: “If I thought that I was guilty, I would admit it.”
“I still believe that I acted reasonably to protect myself, our gear and the audience,” he added. “If I am guilty I will take it like a man.”
Defendant Thomas Hyrvnia said that the fault of Nosek’s death lay not with the metal frontman but with the crowd control staff, “If they had done what they were supposed to, people would not be on stage and this would never have happened.”
Blythe, who pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter charge and attended the many hearings related to the trial, including a 16-hour long court hearing last August that found no evidence connecting the frontman to Nosek’s fatal injury, following which, Blythe told press the young man’s death was “very tragic,” addressing the ongoing stigma that metal music often faces: “to people who are not used to this type of music, I know it must seem crazy and violent. But that sort of activity is normal at a concert. That concert was one of literally thousands I’ve played.”
Blythe admitted to the Prague court to pushing the young man off the stage, but insisted he saw him stand up again in the crowd, with no further contact between the singer and fan.
The Lamb Of God frontman also apologised to Nosek’s family, who had demanded damages worth 10 million koruna (approx. $501,000), while Blythe himself faced up to 20 years imprisonment.
The band’s social media has since exploded following news of Blythe being acquitted of all charges.