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National News

March 5, 2013

INTERNATIONAL: Czech court clears US musician for fans death

PRAGUE — A court acquitted on Tuesday the frontman of a U.S. heavy metal band of causing a teenage fan's death at a concert in the Czech Republic.

Lamb of God's Randy Blythe was charged in December in Prague with causing bodily harm to another person with lethal consequences. Blythe was accused of pushing a 19-year-old who had climbed onto the stage during a 2010 concert at Prague's Abaton club.

The man hit the floor with his head and later died of a head injury.

Prague's Municipal court ruled Tuesday that Blythe was not guilty because what he did was not a crime, court spokeswoman Marketa Puci said.

Blythe, who had pleaded not guilty, acknowledged he pushed the teenager because the band doesn't tolerate any fans on the stage but said he was not aware of any injuries.

In its ruling, the court said it was the concert's organizers who are to blame for the accident, Puci said.

The state prosecutors, who had demanded a five-year prison term for Blythe, said they will appeal the verdict.

Blythe said Tuesday that the victim — who cannot be named in line with Czech privacy laws while the case still is handled by courts — was a fan of his band and he felt sorry for the loss of life.

"I had no wish to harm him. He was just a boy. I wish he was still here."

The 42-year-old musician was arrested in June when he returned to the Czech Republic for another gig, not realizing that he was being investigated in the Czech Republic. He was released five weeks later on $400,000 bail after a Prague court dismissed a prosecution request that Blythe be banned from leaving the country, fearing he wouldn't return for the trial.

The relatives of the fan, who are seeking compensation, were told by the court to file a separate case, Puci said.

AP video journalist Adam Pemble in Prague contributed to this story.

 

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