Judge’s Order Blocks Band’s "Suicide Show"
by Steven Ertelt
October 3, 2003
St. Petersburg, FL (LifeNews.com) — On Thursday a local judge issued an injunction blocking Florida shock rock band Hell on Earth from performing a show at which a fan of the ban will commit suicide.
Despite the legal order, the band says the show will continue at an undisclosed location with a few fans in attendance and the suicide will go on as planned. The band says it will broadcast the show live over the Internet.
St. Petersburg city officials asked Circuit Court Judge John Lenderman for the injunction after they passed an emergency ordinance prohibiting concerts from promoting or selling tickets to shows that include a person committing suicide.
"We think it’s the correct legal decision, and it’s also the right thing to do," Mayor Rick Baker told the Associated Press afterwards. "Using a suicide as part of a concert for purposes of entertainment value or for purposes of profiting is a sick concept."
Billy Tourtelot, 33, could not be located for city officials to serve him with the court order and he did not appear in court Thursday. He could be held in contempt of court for not attending.
Violation of the city ordinance could bring up to 60 days in jail. Additionally, a state law against assisting in a suicide is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
City police plan to monitor the band’s web site on Saturday night, when the concert is planned.
Though some believe the band is using the suicide as a publicity stunt, Tourtelot says otherwise and is pushing the suicide as a way to bring attention to those hoping to legalize assisted suicide.
In the letter, the fan who requested to have the suicide as a part of the concert describes suffering from a terminal illness that has become unbearable.
"I shall sue anyone who tries to revive me before my passing against my wishes," the letter says. "In closing, I hope that everyone understands and respects my decision in this matter and hope one day that others in the same condition have a right to die with dignity."
The band’s web site is now out of action, but police deny having asked its Internet provider to shut it down.