If you've ever seen the movie "Midnight Express," you might have a sense for what a nightmare it is to be locked up overseas when you don't understand how the local legal system works. That's pretty much how the members of metal band Lamb of God are feeling right now as they continue to try and secure the release from jail of singer Randy Blythe.
Blythe was taken into custody last Thursday after being arrested in a probe into the 2010 death of a fan at a LOG show in in the Czech Republic. He was slated to be released on Tuesday, but has reportedly been detained even after posting nearly $200,000 bail and is expected to remain behind bars until at least next week.
Aside from an interview this week with manager Larry Mazer in the Czech Blesk newspaper in which he argued that Blythe should be released "immediately," the singer's band mates have been mum on his case for the past week.
They broke that silence on Friday (July 6) in a statement giving an update on Blythe's situation. "First of all, thanks to everyone who has reached out in support of Randy and each of us in this terrible situation," read the note. "We have been keeping our heads down and not speaking out due to the fluid nature of the situation and the constantly changing information that even we receive daily. Within an hour things can do endless 180's. It's maddening to try and make heads or tails.
"We're taking the time to speak to you as it has been a significant period of time since this situation began and while nothing is immediately clear to any of us, we are not trying to keep anyone in the dark. We have reached out and are making use of the resources we have acquired to help our brother who is still detained in Czech jail."
The statement reiterated something Mazer said in his interview, namely that LOG had not been appraised on the investigation into the fan's death in the two years since it occurred.
Blythe was arrested last week at the airport in Prague, where his Grammy-nominated band was scheduled to perform at the Czech Republic capital's Rock Cafe. Authorities charged him with manslaughter in connection with an alleged incident that resulted in a concertgoer's death two years ago during a concert at Prague's Club Abaton. He is alleged to have shoved a local fan, identified in Czech media only as "Daniel N.," from the stage. Daniel then reportedly suffered a brain hemorrhage that left him comatose and resulted in his death 14 days afterward.
In slow-motion video of the alleged incident posted by Czech Republic's TV Nova, Blythe and what appears to be a security guard can be seen pushing the fan off the stage and back into the audience. Blythe is facing five to 10 years in prison if convicted of the charge of "bodily harm of the 4th degree and resulting in the death of a fan." Lamb of God canceled a show at the Rock Cafe in Prague Thursday after Blythe was brought in for questioning.
Mazer said the organizer of the show now claims that, "the police contacted him three months after the boy died. I don't understand why no one got in touch with us to let us know. He was in a coma and he died, and we never heard from anybody." He added that despite posting bail earlier this week, it's possible Blythe could have to remain in jail for up to 20 days as investigators conduct their probe.
As for the video, Mazer said the clip shows someone jumping into the audience, but "it wasn't Randy that pushed him. The security guard shoved him off the stage." He also noted that nowhere in the brief video do you see the fan falling to the ground.
Spin magazine reported on Thursday that new video footage may exonerate Blythe in the case. Mazer says the new clip, also reportedly filmed at the 2010 show, clearly "shows a security guard throwing the guy onto the floor." The nearly three minute video shows "Daniel" climbing on the stage and dancing before diving back into the audience. He is then seen being pushed off stage by Blythe and the security guard. In the third incident, Daniel crawls onto the stage and then rolls off over the metal barricade into the audience as the fans watch his body hit the floor.
Adding to the confusion, a Blythe fan site is claiming that reports from the Czech Republic suggest that the videos are not of the alleged incident because the timing of the songs being played in the footage does not match up with the sequence of the show in question.
Regardless, Mazer told Rolling Stone that Blythe's attorney presented that video (and others) to the judge in the case on Wednesday.
"Nobody reported an injury of any kind at the concert, or after the concert. It was at least an hour to two hours later, supposedly, when this kid went to a hospital," Mazer told the magazine. "So that's number one -- why did nothing occur during the show? Number two, he had supposedly been in a coma for 30 days, but it wasn't [until] a couple of months later that they contacted the promoter to ask his understanding of the events. He said the same thing -- that the show went on fine, no nothing, no incidents. They told him that a person had been injured, which led to a death, which he had no knowledge of whatsoever. And then it went away. Two years go by, and Randy gets arrested."
As they wait for the legal issues to work themselves out, Blythe's band mates, who flew home last week, said they are trying to keep their chins up. "Randy is our brother and we assure you, we are all staying very positive for him, working endlessly behind the scenes to provide any and all assistance possible," continued their statement.
"The best we can do is to stay positive and continue to support our friend that we know is innocent. We know that justice will prevail and we will continue to do our part to support our friend."