HOLMBERG: Randy Blythe shows some steel showing up for manslaughter trial

Posted at 12:04 AM, Feb 05, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-05 13:42:38-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Richmond’s world-famous heavy metal singer Randy Blythe has a much shorter haircut and a respectable suit this week for his manslaughter trial in the Czech Republic city of Prague.

That’s where the 41-year-old Richmonder spent five weeks in a historically notorious prison this past summer -  before he was even formally charged with pushing a 19-year old fan off the stage during a 2010 concert in Prague.

According to the indictment, he pushed the fan viciously, in such a way that 19-year-old Daniel Nosek fell and hit his head, causing a hemorrhage that later claimed his life. The stage was not quite three feet high (98 centimeters), according to the indictment.

Randy  told us he had no idea anyone had even been hurt. He was arrested in late June when his band, the highly acclaimed Lamb of God, returned to Prague for a show.

Even though many counseled him never return to the not-quite-judicially progressive country, Randy kept his promise to answer to the charges. The victim’s family “deserves some answers,” he told CBS 6 last summer, adding that there’s no greater pain than the loss of a child. He said there’s also no way he was going to hide.  “I’m an innocent man.”

A panel of judges is hearing the case. [Read more about day one of the Randy Blythe trial]

Randy answered the charges through an interpreter during the first day, saying the club was too small for the crowd  and seemingly dangerous, according to press reports.

When one fan rushed onstage and embraced him, Randy said he pinned the fan down and yelled at him to stop. When another fan rushed the stage, Randy  testified, he thought it was that same fan and pushed him off the stage.

But he insisted he had no contact with the teen who died, according to press reports of the trial, which is expected to continue through Friday.

According to one observer, it appeared there were some problems with accurate translations of statements.

So-called stage diving and crowd surfing is very common at heavy metal, hardcore and punk rock shows.  Often, that kind of abandon adds intensity and excitement to the already aggressive style of music. The defense showed videos to that effect. The judges also saw video of that concert.

Numerous fans who attended the 2010 Prague show are expected to testify, including the one Randy pinned to the stage. The court was showed video of that incident.

Also on Monday, Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler testified that Randy’s tough guy image is all part of the show, that he’s really mild-mannered and bookish.

I’ve known Randy peripherally for years. He is a sharp guy who spent much of his time in the Czech prison learning Mongolian and writing in his journal. Randy told me there will be songs and prose about his experiences.

Yes, it’s a gamble returning the country that kept him locked up even after posting bond. That took courage, in harmony with both Blythe’s dual personas - ferocious front man and bookish nerd.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Randy Blythe Trial in Prague