Former Mest singer Anthony Lovato was released from a Van Nuys, California, jail on Tuesday, less than 72 hours after his arrest on suspicion of murder in the stabbing death of a man early Sunday morning.
Los Angeles Police Department Detective Richard Wheeler said the district attorney reviewing the facts of the case declined to prosecute Lovato, 26, after he determined that "Mr. Lovato was acting in self-defense in the incident."
Lovato, who was held on $1 million bail after his Sunday arrest near where the crime transpired (see "Former Mest Singer Jailed For Fatal Stabbing"), confessed to the fatal stabbing of Wayne Hughes, 25, who had been involved with an unidentified woman who also had had a romantic relationship with Lovato.
Sandi Gibbons, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles district attorney's office, said the matter was a clear case of self-defense. "We determined that the suspect and victim had dated the same girl back-and-forth for over a year," Gibbons said. "There had been threats, and the victim sent several threatening messages to the suspect. Apparently, there was some mutual combat and Lovato attempted to separate himself from the victim when the victim challenged him to a fight. The victim followed Lovato to an isolated spot in the underground garage and tried to fight him. Lovato defended himself, and there was insufficient evidence to show that it was not a justifiable use of reasonable force in self-defense."
With the specter of a trial now gone, the question still remains of what exactly happened Sunday morning that resulted in Hughes' death. According to police, Hughes and Lovato got into an argument in the parking garage of a Studio City, California, apartment complex. After Lovato was punched by Hughes, Lovato reportedly took out a knife and stabbed Hughes multiple times, after which either he or the woman called 911 to report the crime.
The case garnered immediate reaction from the music community and Mest fans, many of whom rallied to Lovato's defense. On Monday afternoon, Good Charlotte's Benji and Joel Madden — who toured and worked with Mest on numerous occasions before the band split early last year (see "Good Charlotte's Benji Helps Mest Get 'Jaded' ") — expressed their sadness, telling MTV Radio, "We're all praying for him. We're really bummed. We all have faith that it'll all work out for the best."
[This story was originally published at 6:15 p.m. ET on 03.27.2007]