A California Superior Court judge has ruled that heavy metal band Slayer, along with the music industry, cannot be held liable in the July 22, 1995, murder of a 15-year-old girl by three teenage boys, Billboard Bulletin reports. Jacob Delashmutt, Joseph Fiorella, and Royce Casey — who were arrested and convicted for the rape and murder of Elyse Pahler — claimed in their defense that Slayer’s lyrics had instructed them to stalk and kill Pahler as “a virgin sacrifice to Satan.”
In his ruling Monday in the California Superior Court in San Luis Obispo, Judge Jeffrey Burke stated that the March 23, 2001, civil suit — filed in the same court by David and Lisanne Pahler on behalf of their daughter, Elyse — failed to prove that Slayer’s lyrics and the music industry’s marketing of “death metal music” to young people violated California law.
“The ruling is a statement that the First Amendment is still alive and well,” says Slayer’s lawyer Gerald Margolis. An attorney for the Pahlers says he plans to file an appeal.
As previously reported, Slayer is on tour in North America in support of its latest American album, “God Hates Us All.” The group plays Jacksonville, Fla., tonight (Oct. 30).