Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Parents Take Death Music To Court.

Byline: Thomas J. Cole Journal Investigative Reporter

Family Says Violent Lyrics Incited Murder

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. Elyse Marie Pahler was 15 when she was choked and stabbed to death by three boys who believed Satan would reward them by making their death-metal band play better.

Now, David and Lisanne Pahler want to put some of the biggest names in the music industry on trial for the murder of their daughter.

The Pahlers allege the killers were incited by obscene song lyrics about sexual violence.

The couple's lawsuit is a long shot to make it to trial. Those who record and distribute music have free-speech protections under the Constitution.

Yet, the Pahlers fight on. They have built a sizable and respectable legal team, including a former California chief justice and a Michigan media attorney.

"We're going to hit a home run one of these days," David Pahler said after a court hearing last Tuesday in San Luis Obispo in which a judge had dealt the Pahlers a significant, but not fatal, setback.

"Where is the harm in going to trial?" David Pahler asked. "This is about the children. It's not about the First Amendment."

The music-industry defendants in the Pahlers' lawsuit were represented at the hearing by more than a dozen lawyers. They included Floyd Abrams, a noted First Amendment attorney from New York City. In this case, he represents Sony Music Entertainment and Columbia House.

Music didn't kill Elyse Pahler, Abrams said. …

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