A VH1 program that features prison musical groups has drawn complaints from state officials in Pennsylvania and a mother who was stunned to see her daughter's killer jamming with his bandmates on TV, according to Billboard. The premiere of VH1's "Music Behind Bars" series Friday will feature DARK MISCHIEF, a heavy metal band formed by inmates at Graterford State Prison, including Christopher Bissey, who was convicted of murdering two teenage girls at Lehigh University in 1995. Bissey is a backup singer for the band, which includes two other murderers and two rapists.
State Rep. T.J. Rooney and Mary Orlando, the mother of one of Bissey's victims, appeared on "The O'Reilly Factor" on the Fox News Channel to talk about "Music Behind Bars". O'Reilly said that VH1 representatives refused to appear on his show and did say they are still planning to air the prison band program.
''I am not happy about this at all,'' Orlando told O'Reilly. ''When someone goes to prison you do not think they will be on national television.''
On June 25, 1995, Orlando's 15-year-old daughter, Mary, and her friend Jennifer Grider, 17, were in a car atop the Lookout on Lehigh University's campus when Bissey, then 18, shot them. He was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive life terms.
Rooney, D-Northampton, said a candlelight vigil is planned for Friday night while the VH1 show is aired. He also has written toVH1 asking that the show's ad revenue be donated to the Pennsylvania Office of Victim Advocate.
''People like this guy should be doing hard labor, not performing in rock groups,'' O'Reilly said.
O'Reilly asked his viewers to call or write their complaints to VH1 or its parent company Viacom about the show.
"Music Behind Bars" producer Arnold Shapiro, best known for the 1979 prison documentary "Scared Straight", has said the show is intended to highlight music's role in rehabilitation. VH1 has declined to comment on whether the network would make a donation.