Former Franklin man attends son’s trial in Czech Republic

Published 9:35 am Saturday, February 16, 2013


FRANKLIN—A former Franklin man remains optimistic that his son — the front man of the Richmond-based heavy metal band Lamb of God — will be cleared of any wrongdoing in a 19-year-old’s death.

“I’m very proud of the way he’s handled all this,” said Wayne Blythe, who spent early February in a Czech Republic courtroom, where his son, Randy Blythe, is on trial for involuntary manslaughter.

“He made it clear this is a matter of integrity with him,” Wayne Blythe said. “This grieving family deserves answers.”

Randy Blythe, who lived on Barrett Street and attended S.P. Morton Elementary School, Hayden Middle School and Franklin High School before moving to Chesapeake, faces up to 10 years in prison.

A Hunterdale native who remains in Chesapeake, Wayne Blythe, 67, will return to Prague when the trial resumes on March 4. The trial was continued at the request of the defense because one witness was ill, and there are plans to hear testimony from a few expert witnesses.

Randy Blythe, 41, is accused of pushing the man onto a concrete floor during a concert in May 2010. He died weeks later and the rock star was arrested in June 2012.

Wayne Blythe, who taught electronics at Tidewater Community College for 29 years, said the autopsy indicates the man died from pneumonia caused by a brain stem injury.

Represented by Czech and American lawyers, Randy Blythe has testified. He also made an opening statement and questioned witnesses, Wayne Blythe said.

Randy Blythe indicated he has no memory of pushing the dead man from the stage.

During the trial, Wayne Blythe said a young man testified that he had been on the stage repeatedly that day, and Randy Blythe wrestled him to the floor.

“He told him to ‘stop this, you don’t belong up here,’” Wayne Blythe said.

Another man, who came forth voluntarily, testified that he did not see Randy Blythe do anything inappropriate.

A three-judge panel is hearing the case. One person has legal training, while the other two do not. Notes from testimony were translated into English for Wayne Blythe, who was at the trial with his wife and former wife.

The legal process has been a positive so far.

“We have nothing bad to say about the Czech Republic,” said Wayne Blythe, who preaches at Bethel Friends Meeting in Franklin. “It’s unfortunate my son was arrested. We are trying to let their justice system do the work.”

“I don’t feel he did anything intentional to hurt anyone,” he added.