Randy Blythe trial will not conclude this week; Defense receives postponement until March 4 so witness can appear

Testimony in the manslaughter trial of Lamb of God front man Randy Blythe will not conclude this week — as was previously anticipated — because a defense witness is unavailable to appear.

Blythe is facing manslaughter charges for the May 2010 death of Daniel Nosek, who died of head injuries after falling or being pushed from the stage at a Lamb of God concert in Prague. Blythe was charged by prosecutors last year; if found guilty, Blythe could face up to 10 years in prison.

According to WTVR, the Richmond Va. television station that has been providing regular coverage of the trial, the defense requested the delay because a defense witness who was scheduled to appear became ill. Prague Post reporter Jonathan Crane — who is covering the trial for WTVR — reported the judges will recess the trial after Thursday’s testimony. The trial will resume on March 4.

Crane reports Blythe will return to the United States while the trial is delayed. Crane said Blythe told judges he would return when the trial resumes.

You can find all of WTVR’s trial coverage here.

Blabbermouth.net quoted a Czech-language news source Wednesday that said the person Blythe is seen pushing off the stage in a widely publicized video took the stand in Blythe’s defense.

Blabbermouth cites Novinky.cz, saying Milan Poránek told judges he was not choked by Blythe when Poránek jumped on stage. Blabbermouth says Poránek jumped on stage “at least twice” during the concert.

“I wanted to stagedive and Blythe pulled me to the ground and held me there as I was very drunk,” Blabbermouth quotes Poránek as telling the judges. “(Blythe) did it because of the way I acted, and he was justified in doing so.”

You can read the Blabbermouth report here.


Randy Blythe issues statement about trial, asks fans to stop bashing Czechs

Blabbermouth.net posted the following message from Lamb of God vocalist, which was originally posted on Blythe’s Instagram account. Blythe talks about media accounts of his manslaughter trial — which is currently underway in the Czech Republic city of Prague — and asks fans to not blame the Czech Republic.

Blythe was charged with manslaughter by Czech prosecutors last year, in the 2010 death of Daniel Nosek, who died of head injuries sustained at a Lamb of God concert. Prosecutors allege Blythe caused Nosek’s death by pushing Nosek off the stage during the show. Blythe told the judge during the trial’s first day Monday that he had no contact with Nosek.

Here’s Blythe’s full statement.

“I have read a few news reports of the progress of my case, and trust me — many
things are incorrect. But this is the Internet, and, of course, things are
half-baked anyway. Keep in mind that translation is difficult, and many things
can be lost, for Czech is a VERY DIFFICULT language. So wait and see, as I am.
It is all I can do, except be honest and fight for my freedom in my own way.

“I also have heard of some people (not on here) talking smack about the
Czech Republic, saying, ‘Fuck the Czech Republic,’ etc. This [is] not how it
should be. This is a very sad case, not something to rage at people you do not
know over.

“I am not angry with the Czechs at all. A fan of my band is
dead — what do I have to be angry about? I am an INNOCENT man, but I am also a
very sad man right now. To not be sad in this instance would be inhuman. But mad
at the Czech people? Why would I be mad at them?

“Here, look at this picture — a mother watches her baby. The child reaches out for something new, laughing and chasing a pretty picture in the air. It is the same here as everywhere else. Do you see?!?!?

“Life is beautiful.

“I hope to see y’all soon.”

Lack of security was an issue at concert where man died from fall from stage, Lamb of God vocalist, witness says at trial

More than one witness who testified during the second day of Lamb of God vocalist Randy Blythe’s trial in Prague said the barrier that separated the audience from the stage was insufficient to keep people from climbing on the stage on the night a fan died after either falling or being pushed from the stage.

WTVR in Richmond Va. is perhaps the only U.S. media outlet attempting to provide regular coverage of Blythe’s trial (find their coverage here). Blythe, of course, was charged with manslaughter and arrested in the Czech Republic last year, in connection with a May 2010 incident where a fan, Daniel Nosek, was killed during a Lamb of God concert in Prague. Prosecutors claim Blythe pushed Nosek from the stage, causing Nosek to hit his head. Nosek died of his injuries about one month later.

WTVR is covering the trial with daily updates from Prague Post reporter Jonathan Crane. During the first day of the trial, Blythe admitted pushing one man off stage, but denied having any contact with Nosek. On Tuesday, three of Nosek’s friends testified they all saw Blythe push Nosek off the stage, Crane told WTVR.

Witness accounts of the incident varied, with some saying Blythe was on-stage and singing during the incident, while another witness said Blythe was off-stage while the band was between songs, but came rushing back onto the stage to push Nosek off in an “unnecessarily aggressive manner,” Crane reported.

Crane reported witnesess testified security made no effort to keep people off the stage; witnesses also testified the concert venue staff did nothing to discourage people from climbing on state. Crane reported Blythe testified he told the audience there were “too many people on stage;” Nosek’s friends, however, testified that they thought Blythe said that two people could come on stage.

Prosecutors and Blythe disagreed on a gesture Blythe made on stage before the incident, Crane reported. Prosecutors say Blythe gestured to get people up on stage; Blythe, however, said the gesture was made to get the audience to react. Anyone how has been to a metal show has seen singers and band members gesture for the crowd to make noise.

It’s hard to imagine the band would invite any and all members of the crowd to come up on stage — in the aftermath of Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell Abbott’s on-stage shooting death by a degranged fan several years ago, it’s a wonder popular bands don’t perform behind shields of bullet proof glass — but I haven’t seen the gesture, and presumably the judge presiding over the case has, and can make a reasonable interpretation.

Blythe did push at least one man off the stage, which Blythe admitted during the trial, Crane reported. A video that has been widely circulated on Youtube shows Blythe pushing a man off of the stage, but Blythe’s defense team says the person Blythe pushed was not Nosek.

Crane reports evidence could conclude Wednesday; if so, the judge could get the case on Thursday and make a ruling either that day or in a week. Crane said there’s also the possibility the judge will ask both sides to provide more evidence.

Both the prosecution and the defense can appeal the ruling, Crane said.

Witnesses at Randy Blythe’s trial show the problem of eyewitness testimony

Randy Blythe (photo by AFP/Getty Images)

Randy Blythe (photo by AFP/Getty Images)

The manslaughter trial of Lamb of God front man Randy Blythe opened Monday in the Czech Republic. On Monday, judges heard testimony from Blythe, while witnesses who were at the concert testified on Tuesday.

As you know, Blythe is accused of causing the death of 19 year-old Daniel Nosek at a 2010 Lamb of God concert in Prague. Blythe is charged with causing Nosek’s death by pushing Nosek off the stage, causing Nosek to strike his head on the floor. If found guilty, Blythe could face 10 years in prison and a civil penalty of $10 million Czech Koruna.

According to Richmond Va. television station WTVR, several witnesses testified Blythe was aggressive at the concert and pushed Nosek off the stage from behind.

But witnesses gave differing accounts of the incident; in one case, a witness said there were “several” incidents of aggression during the first half of the show, which Blythe said was contradicted by video from the show.

The PRP has an excellent recap of the first day of the trial; according to The PRP, prosecutors are depicting Blythe as aggressive and “antisocial,” while Blythe, band mate Chris Adler and the band’s tour manager say Blythe is quiet and intelligent and only acts aggressive as part of the band’s stage show.

The eyewitness testimony is interesting, because it demonstrates how unreliable eyewitnesses are in criminal trials. According to the WTVR report, several eyewitnesses had difficulty recalling details from the May 2010 concert.

According to The Innocence Project, the organization helped overturn 21 wrongful convictions in 2011; of those 21 convictions, 19 of them were based on eyewitness testimony that later proved to be incorrect.

Eyewitness testimony in the Blythe trial doesn’t seem like an issue on the surface — after all, everyone in the audience was presumably a Lamb of God fan and knew the man singing on stage was Randy Blythe. But the question of what they saw is complicated. Video footage from the concert that was widely circulated and allegedly showed Blythe pushing a man (presumably Nosek) off the stage; but the PRP reports the man Blythe pushes in the video was not Nosek.

Further, the venue was crowded, the audience area was darkened and various stage lights were flashing during the concert. A witness might believe he saw Blythe push Nosek off the stage, when he really saw the other person, who was captured in the video footage.

According to the American Bar Association, other factors that affect memory in eyewitness accounts are intoxication, the amount of time a person witnessed the incident and distance between the eyewitness and the incident. Memory also decays over time — in the case of Blythe’s trial, the eyewitnesses have had almost three years to, unintentionally, lose details from the incident.

Without irrefutable evidence — like video footage that shows Blythe pushing a clearly identifiable Nosek off the stage — the judges presiding over the case will have to base their decision solely on the eyewitness testimony. Since the eyewitnesses already called to testify have provided accounts that somewhat contradict each other — and since some witnesses have had trouble remembering details from the incident — the fact that the verdict might hang on those accounts is troubling.

The trial is scheduled to continue through Friday.