Morning Show hosts Tim Benz and Bob McLaughlin of the 105.9 The X radio station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania were joined by Prague Post reporter Jonathan Crane this morning (Tuesday, July 31) to discuss the latest developments in the incarceration of LAMB OF GOD singer Randy Blythe in the Czech Republic in connection with the death of a fan more than two years ago. You can now listen to the chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
Blythe was arrested at the Prague airport on June 27 and is accused of shoving a local fan off the stage during LAMB OF GOD's May 2010 concert in the city. The man, who is said to have stormed the stage three times during the show, reportedly suffered a brain hemorrhage that resulted in his death nearly a month later.
After the court doubled Blythe's bail two weeks ago from about $200,000 to about $400,000, the prosecutor once again filed a complaint against the singer's release.
On the latest developments in the Randy Blythe case:
Jonathan Crane: "There's not really been much change in the case. Randy Blythe is still in prison. His bail hearing is still ongoing. I know that's kind of causing a lot of concern for people because it has been going on for so long. But as it stands right now, the state prosecutor here has appealed the bail terms again, so it has to go back to one of the appeal courts, the Municipal Court, and at the moment we're waiting on them to make a decision on whether Randy Blythe can be released or not."
On why Randy Blythe's bail was doubled after he posted the initial bail:
Jonathan Crane: "Yes, this is the confusing thing. He posted bail, originally, of $200,000 — that was at the start of his arrest. I mean, this has been going on now for over a month; I think he was arrested June 27, so already more than a month. That was challenged by the prosecutor. The prosecutor challenged the amount of bail and also he said that Randy Blythe could re-offend if he was let out of jail, which seems a bit ridiculous to me, but that was what the prosecutor said. That appeal was thrown out by the Municipal Court, but they did agree to increase the bail, so they doubled it to $400,000. That's also been posted. So this is the strange thing for people in the United States, and also for me as a Brit from England, usually when you post your bail money, you're free to go, but the Czech Republic has a slightly different system in that the prosecutor can file complaints against the bail, and this is what's happened here. So, yeah, $400,000 is currently sitting in the Czech court, but Randy Blythe is still in jail."
On why there hasn't been more international reaction to the Randy Blythe case:
Jonathan Crane: "It's had a bit of coverage in the Czech media, especially in the tabloid press. But there doesn't seem to be too much in the United States. I've had a few media outlets contact me wanting information. There certainly isn't that much information out there in the English-speaking media. But certainly it's an interesting case. And I've been trying to get answers from the Czech police and also the U.S. State Department, because I think they do have a lot to answer. The confusing thing was that LAMB OF GOD came over to the Czech Republic at the end of June to play this gig and they had no idea that the Czech police were after Randy Blythe. The Czech police were waiting at the airport and arrested him once the plane had landed, but LAMB OF GOD were completely unaware that this case was ongoing. So I think questions need to asked of the U.S. State Department whether they did indeed have any contact with the Czech authorities and if they did, why wasn't the message passed on to LAMB OF GOD's management. That seems to be the big question in my mind, because it seems very strange that it's taken two years for all this to come to light. It really is quite an interesting case and it's surprising that there isn't that much attention being paid your side of the channel."
On whether there has been any outrage in the Czech Republic over the way this case has been handled:
Jonathan Crane: "I think at the moment things have died down a bit, because, of course, it has been a month. But at the start, there did seem to me to be two certain camps — obviously on the U.S. side, a lot of support for Randy Blythe, a lot of anger why he was being imprisoned and why it was taking this long. Obviously, there's been these videos put up on YouTube of the alleged incident. Now, LAMB OF GOD's management say this is a key to proving Blythe's innocence, that you can clearly see it's a security guard that throws a boy or a man off the stage. Now, other people I have spoken to here who were at the gig, and it's also available on Czech metal-review web sites, they say, actually, the man in the videos is not Daniel, the young man who, unfortunately, died two years ago. So there's a lot of confusion. But I certainly think there are two camps. Obviously, like I said, the U.S. side [where] there's a lot of anger, but in the Czech side, at the start the Czezh tabloids were quite vociferous about Blythe and the reputation of LAMB OF GOD and portraying Blythe, especially, to be quite a violent person and an aggressive person. And so there certainly was that. But as I said, things have calmed down a lot now and we're just waiting for the Czech courts to make their decision. All I can say is it's frustrating for us trying to cover the case because it seems to be very slow going, but we have to just hope that the Czech Republic and the courts here do their job and I'm aware that that's what their doing and we have just have to be aware that it's a slightly different situation."
On what sort of rules exist in the Czech Republic that would protect Randy Blythe from prosecution seeing as how he was the one performing when the person came on stage before he got shoved off and eventually died:
Jonathan Crane: "That's something I also asked the Czech police, but they were very uncooperative when responding to my questions. All they would say is that they investigated the case in 2010. A friend of Daniel's whom I spoke to said that the police were investigating even before he had died — he was in a coma, don't forget, for two weeks before he passed away. Of course, I don't know what the state of their investigations are, so that would be hard for me to say. In terms of the actual case, the trial could take up to six months, so even if Randy Blythe does get released from prison, he'll have to wait six months for his trial. That's an interesting one. We've spoken to lawyers and legal experts who said that, actually, the defense team does have quite a strong case, because even if Randy Blythe did push the fan off the stage, it would be very difficult for the prosecution to prove that it was that alone that was responsible for the fan's death. I mean, they said potentially fans could have accidentally trampled on him on the floor, the ambulance could have taken too long to arrive — things like that. So there does seem to be a strong case for the defense, but at this stage, I think the main focus for everyone — and the focus for LAMB OF GOD, certainly — is getting Randy out of jail and released on bail."