Parents of Teen Who Killed Self Sue Singer Ozzy Osbourne
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The parents of a teen-ager who shot himself to death 14 months ago have filed suit against singer Ozzy Osbourne, contending their son was influenced by song lyrics about suicide.
John Daniel McCollum, 19, allegedly was listening to an Osbourne album titled ″Speak to the Devil″ when he shot himself Oct. 27, 1984, with his father’s .22-caliber pistol. Two of the album’s songs, ″Suicide Solution″ and ″Paranoid,″ refer to suicide.
″It is my opinion those songs had a direct correlation in John’s death,″ attorney Thomas Anderson said at a news conference Monday.
The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court last October on behalf of Jack McCollum and Geraldine Lugenbuehl of Indio, contends the young man followed the lyrics of ″Suicide Solution,″ which say, ″Where to hide, suicide is the way out. Don’t you know what it’s really about?″
A line from ″Paranoid″ says: ″Can you help me? Oh, shoot out my brains, oh yeah.″
Osbourne and CBS Records, which also is named in the suit, should have known that the lyrics would be heard by and would influence people ″vulnerable to the ideas, suggestions and emotions″ of rock music, the suit contends.
The suit seeks unspecified general and punitive damages.
Anderson said Osbourne and CBS were sued ″to teach them a lesson. It is our hope that this case - as a result of applying California law - will make parents aware of what’s in these records.″
Osbourne, formerly with the group Black Sabbath, would not comment on the suit, said a spokesman at Jensen Communications who refused to give his name.
CBS Records Group would have no comment because the matter was in the courts, spokesman Robert Altshuler in New York said Monday.
Jack McCollum told reporters his son was drinking the night he died.
″But I don’t believe he had a problem with alcohol,″ he said. ″His suicide came as a total surprise.″
Lee Snellings, deputy Riverside County coroner, said an investigation indicated the young man did not seem to have any problems, was well-liked and gave no indication he would take his life.
Osbourne has generated controversy in the past, and once bit off the head of a bat while on stage in Des Moines, Iowa.