January 24, 2001 -- A lawsuit claiming that the death-metal rock band Slayer's music incited three teenagers to kill a 15-year-old girl as a ritual sacrifice was dismissed by a judge Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.
The case isn't closed, however, as the parents of Elyse Pahler were given 60 days to submit a rewritten complaint — which they plan to do, according to the news service.
Scott Harrington, attorney for Slayer and Sony Music label American Recordings, was confident in the defense's stance. "There's not a legal position that could be taken that would make the band responsible," he said. "Where do you draw the line? You might as well start looking through the library at every book on the shelf."
The plaintiffs had sought to get around the suit's being dismissed on simple First Amendment grounds by focusing on the marketing of Slayer's music, rather than simply the lyrics.
The three murderers are serving 25-years-to-life prison sentences for the murder, after pleading no contest.
Joseph Fiorella — who was 14 when Pahler was lured into a eucalyptus grove and beaten, raped, and killed — told police counselors that Slayer's music "started to influence the way I looked at things."
Slayer's music — including the lyrics to such songs as "Altar of Sacrifice" and "Postmortem" — frequently deal with dark themes, including devil worship, torture, and necrophilia.
Another of the convicted killers, Jacob Delashmutt, recently told The Washington Post that though the music is destructive, "That's not why Elyse was murdered. She was murdered because Joe [Fiorella] was obsessed with her, and obsessed with killing her."
The lawsuit sought unspecified damages and restrictions on the marketing of Slayer's music to minors.