Manson May Fight Wrongful Death Suit With Countersuit

Singer is accused of giving woman drugs, then telling her to drive.

Marilyn Manson and the mother of a woman who died in a car crash following a party at his home last April are beginning to face off, as Manson is now considering a countersuit to the wrongful death suit she filed last week.

Maria St. John accuses Manson (born Brian Warner) of providing her daughter, Jennifer Syme, with cocaine and instructing her to drive while under the influence (see “Marilyn Manson Accused Of Contributing To Friend’s Death” ).

Manson addressed the lawsuit last week in a statement expressing sorrow for Syme’s death while claiming she had been given a designated driver. This week he issued another statement, calling the accusations “completely false” and noting that he is considering a countersuit for slander, harassment and abuse of the legal process. The statement also further describes the night in question — April 1, 2001, when Syme was a guest at what Manson called a “quiet get-together” after a night at the movies.

“This lawsuit, which is completely without merit, will not bring back Jennifer’s life,” Manson’s statement read. “It serves only to reopen the wounds and the pain felt by all who loved Jennifer. It is a pity that St. John sullies her own daughter’s reputation by filing this baseless claim.”

St. John’s suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on April 2. In a press conference Monday, she shot back at Manson, saying that she was attempting to provide the last bit of protection available to her daughter, under the California Health and Safety Code’s Drug Dealer Liability Act.

“What I have to say about this is basically that I will be my daughter’s voice,” St. John told reporters at her lawyer’s office in Los Angeles. “I will be my daughter’s advocate. I will be my daughter’s sunshine as she was to me. I will be my voice, my advocate, because my daughter did not die in vain. And I hope that what happened to Jennifer doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

St. John’s suit seeks $25,000 in damages and attorney fees. It claims Manson provided Syme with “various quantities of an illegal controlled substance” after which she “was driven to her home … for the purpose of getting her own car with the intent to drive back” to Manson’s residence. The suit alleges Manson was negligent in “instructing [Syme] to operate a motor vehicle in her incapacitated condition.”

Her lawyer, Leonard Samuels, said St. John anticipated Manson would file a countersuit. “This is no surprise. Marilyn Manson has been consistent in his response, but there’s no validity to it,” he said. “He’s given conflicting reports to the police about the nature of the gathering, that [Syme] was fine, that there were no drugs, no drinks. But if she were fine, there were no drinks, no drugs, why would she need a designated driver?

“The thing is,” Samuels continued, “is that she didn’t have her car at his house. She had been picked up the previous day, and from what we know from the investigation, witnesses and the evidence is that she had to leave to get her car, because she couldn’t stay if that person who first picked her up left without her. She had no other means to get to her car. But the main thing is that he furnished the drugs.”