Lamb of God vocalist Randy Blythe’s trial began in a Czech court on Monday. The singer is facing accusation of involuntary manslaughter for allegedly causing the death of a teenage fan by pushing him off of the stage at a show in 2010, causing a head injury from which the fan later died.
Blythe was arrested in the city of Prague this past June and held for five weeks before being released from jail. He was indicted in December.
The vocalist is facing 10 years in prison, and the family of the deceased is seeking 10 million Czech Koruna, equal to U.S. $530,000, which is over two years’ worth of Blythe’s income, according to defense attorneys.
Prior to the trial, Blythe posted a photo of himself on Instagram, sporting a shorter haircut and wearing a suit. The caption for the photo reads, “And so it begins. I am calm & prepared. Everyone, thanks for your good thoughts and prayers. Have a nice day, y’all!”
Blythe has denied the charges. During the trial, he described the incident in 2010, citing near-sightedness and saying that he only sees silhouettes on stage. Metal Injection quotes a rough translation from a Czech report of Blythe’s account of the incident:
“The first time he ran towards me, waving at me, then jumped off the stage and waited for the crowd to grab him,” said Blythe.
“‘I thought he might be dangerous. He was hugging me. [That’s] when I decided to give him clear that the stage is not welcome,’ said the singer. Then he described that while singing, he grabbed the fan’s shirt, knocked him to the ground, knelt beside him, and told him repeatedly and emphatically: ‘Do not go on stage, stop it.’”
Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler and band manager Larry Mazer were both brought into court as character witnesses, testifying that Blythe is not an aggressive person and only acts aggressively as part of their shows. According to the Czech report:
“In court testimony and drummer, who said he did not see anything behind. The injured fan is in his own words learned only at the moment when the singer arrested by the police. He added that the roughness of the band leader at concerts is just a show for the audience, otherwise it is said to be calm, gentle and well-read.”
“I’m only aggressive on stage, it’s part of the concert,” Blythe told the court. “We participate in charitable activities. I sold one of our Grammys at auction and donated the proceeds to research on children’s muscle atrophy. I contributed to breast cancer research.”
The trial is set to end on Friday and a verdict could be reached as early as next Monday.