Florida Band to Stage Suicide

Hell on Earth plan to host fan's death at upcoming show

September 17, 2003 12:00 AM ET

Florida industrial rockers Hell on Earth are planning to host an on-stage suicide during their October 4th show at St. Petersburg's State Theater. A terminally ill member of a euthanasia society, whose identity and condition have not been revealed, intends to raise awareness for the cause of dying with dignity by committing suicide during the concert, according to the band's singer, Billy Tourtelot.

"I support the right to die with dignity," Tourtelot says. "I got an email a few weeks ago from this person, who is a fan of the band and who stated an interest in doing this."

Tourtelot, 33, says he will reveal the name of the person on the day of the show. "I was skeptical at first, but we did some research and talked to the person and met, and they're going to do it."

In a press release issued Monday the fan wrote: "I thank the Lord that Hell on Earth is giving me this opportunity to end my suffering. I just want to say as my last will and testament that this is my God-given choice to end my life. I'd prefer to have a physician-assisted suicide but until the laws are changed, those who are in pain like me will either have to continue to suffer or do it themselves." According to Tourtelot, several suicide methods have been discussed, among them a plastic bag over the head, but the person has not yet decided.

If Hell on Earth -- whose songs include "Toilet Licking Maggot" and "Raped by the Virgin Mary" and whose past stage stunts, according to Tourtelot, include having intercourse with cows and drinking blended rats -- go through with the plan, they could be hit with secondary felony charges for assisting in the commission of self-murder. The punishment for such a crime is fifteen years in prison, though, according to a police spokesperson, the statute has rarely been enforced.

"What they're proposing to do is a crime," says Bill Proffitt of the St. Petersburg Police. "I don't know if this is a publicity stunt, but we will most likely try to head them off at the pass and show them the statute. They may not be aware that it is a crime."

Tourtelot denies that is a publicity stunt or a crime: "We have legal representation, and this is not illegal. I'm definitely not assisting in any suicide . . . What I'm doing may be immoral, but it's not illegal."

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