LAMB OF GOD frontman Randy Blythe has returned to the Czech Republic to stand trial on charges of manslaughter in the death of a fan at a Prague concert more than two years ago.
The court originally had three months to set a trial date after announcing on December 3, 2012 that Blythe was officially indicted on manslaughter charges.
Blythe is facing the possibility of conviction and a long-term jail sentence after a 2010 incident in which a fan, Daniel Nosek, attending a LAMB OF GOD show died almost a month later, allegedly from injuries sustained when he was thrown off the stage. Blythe's predicament has galvanized the heavy rock community, with artists across the hard rock genre pledging their support.
Blythe arrived in court this morning (Monday, February 4) about a quarter hour before the scheduled start time and was described by Blesk.cz as "unrecognizable" — sporting slick short hair and a "humble" expression. He did not address reporters before the court session and spoke only with his lawyer.
"And so it begins. I am calm and prepared," Randy wrote on his Instagram account. "Everyone, thanks for your good thoughts and prayers. Have a nice day, y'all!"
Speaking in court, Randy said: "I've kept my word. I said that I would come back to court today and I did. I do not shy away from responsibility. I'm not a person who runs away from problems. But I do not want to be punished for something I did not do."
Randy explained that fans are normally prohibited from jumping on stage, but the Prague show was different. People climbed up on stage and found themselves standing next to bandmembers.
"The fan's death breaks my heart," Randy said.
"I never saw Daniel and I never came in contact with him," he added in court.
According to the singer, LAMB OF GOD never encouraged anyone to get up on stage and has security guards and barriers around the stage to prevent fans from getting up on stage and possibly bumping into the musicians.
The club Abaton where the LAMB OF GOD concert on May 24, 2010 took place was had inadequate security, according to Blythe, and there was general chaos on stage during the performance.
The parents of Daniel Nosek are demanding compensation of 10 million Czech Koruna (approximately $530,000).
"I'm not rich, and if I had to pay for something, I would have to earn it first," said Blythe, who makes about $200,000 a year. Most of the earnings reportedly come from the sale of T-shirts and other merchandise.
Jonathan Crane, a reporter from the Prague Post, told WTVR-TV that a legal expert believes the Blythe's defense team should have quite a strong case. "Even if Randy was responsible for the alleged attack, the expert said that who is to say that he wasn't accidentally kicked or trodden on or left without help by fans below the stage," Crane said.