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10 Attempts To Blame Murder On Music

by Estelle
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Music has been blamed for many things over the years. Some feel that certain genres encourage violence, and a few even believe that the artists themselves are demon-possessed or satanic. Specific songs have been blamed for riots, rebellion, and suicide. Murderers have even claimed that music has inspired them to kill.

10New Jersey Man Claimed Metallica Song Drove Him To Murder

Metallica – Ronnie

In 2002, 29-year-old Ronald Pituch seemingly lost it and killed his mother inside their home by bludgeoning her to death with a barbell before speeding off on his motorcycle. While driving aimlessly, Pituch spotted an 11-year-old boy on his bicycle in the next neighborhood. He got off his motorcycle and pulled the surprised boy off the bike before stabbing him and dumping his body in a nearby pond.

Pituch was apprehended by police shortly after the murders. During the two-year trial, his defense attorneys acknowledged that Ronald Pituch was manic-depressive as well as a paranoid schizophrenic. However, Pituch’s own testimony was completely unexpected. He told the judge that he believed the devil was inside of him and the song “Ronnie” by heavy metal outfit Metallica was written about his life. The lyrics of the song include “lost my way this bloody day” and tell the story of a lonely boy who “never smiled and never laughed.” The court did not take this claim seriously, and Pituch was handed a 50-year jail sentence for the murders in 2004.

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9Teenagers Claim Tupac Song Inspired Them To Shoot A Cop

2PAC – Soulja’s Story

Police were stunned when a sniper took the life of a fellow officer in Milwaukee in 1994. The officer was gunned down inside his police van while patrolling an area near an empty lot. Two 17-year-olds were waiting for him, and one of them fired a shot into the van just as it turned a corner.

The shooter already had a terrible track record with the law, including arrests for drug possession and illegal possession of a firearm. When he was arrested and questioned about the shooting, the young man told police officers that he had been inspired by a Tupac Shakur song about killing a policeman.

Just a week prior to the shooting, Tupac was actually in Milwaukee for a concert. The concert nearly ended in disaster when Tupac insulted some of his fans, after which his bodyguard took out his gun onstage for everyone to see.

8Charles Manson Heard Secret Messages In Beatles Album

It’s been said that when Charles Manson didn’t quote scripture from the Book of Revelation, he quoted lyrics from Beatles songs. He often referred to The Beatles as the four “angels” described in the ninth chapter of Revelation. It is also believed that when The Beatles released their White Album, Manson became even more warped than he already was, as he believed The Beatles were communicating to him through their song lyrics.

Manson was convinced that the song “Helter Skelter” was a prediction of an imminent race war. He also interpreted “Blackbird” as a black power anthem. He warned his followers, telling them that their lives would be spared if they traveled to a specified location in Death Valley. When the war did not materialize, Manson believed he needed to instigate it, yet his efforts repeatedly failed.

By the middle of 1969, Manson had grown irritable. It was then that he ordered four of his disciples to murder everyone they found inside 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles and frame it as a hate crime. Actress Sharon Tate, her unborn child, and four of her friends subsequently lost their lives on August 9, 1969.

Read the disturbing life story of Charles Manson in Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson at!

7Chigaco Rapper’s Lyrics Connected To The Murder Of An Oklahoma Student

Chief Keef “Make It Count” Directed by @whoisnorthstar Official Visual Prod. by @TwinCityCEO

James Edwards and two other teenagers claimed boredom was the reason for their senseless killing of student athlete Christopher Lane in 2013. “We were bored and didn’t have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody,” Edwards insisted to police. Police officers were not convinced that this was the motive for the murder, though.

Edwards’s Twitter account contained many tweets that seemed to reference an imminent murder. At first, this looked like proof that Lane’s killing was premeditated, rather than the spur-of-the-moment act Edwards suggested. Only later did people realize the tweets were actually song lyrics by Chief Keef, a rapper from Chicago. Keef has been linked to gang activities, which is said to be the inspiration for the violent and disturbing lyrics of many of his songs.

Keef’s genre is known as drill music. Drill artists are relatively unknown and primarily promoted on social media platforms. The police investigating the Lane murder case believe artists like Keef who associate with gangsters are to blame for increased murder statistics.

6Slipknot Blamed For School Murder

Slipknot – Wait And Bleed [OFFICIAL VIDEO] [HD]

In 2008, a masked attacker stalked through the corridors of Nic Diederichs Technical School in Krugersdorp, South Africa. Wielding a samurai sword, he proceeded to stab 16-year-old student Jacques Pretorius to death. The attacker also stabbed and wounded another pupil and two gardeners employed by the school before he was apprehended.

The attacker was identified as another student of the school, 18-year-old Morne Harmse. The mask he wore resembled that of Joey Jordison, the drummer of the band Slipknot. Witnesses later recalled that Harmse wore an outfit that looked very much like something Jordison sometimes wore onstage.

A close friend of Harmse told police and news reporters that he did not recognize him the day of the attack and that he looked as though he were on drugs, though he tested negative for illegal substances during the investigation. The friend also said that Harmse often spoke about demonology and became very interested in the music of Slipknot in the days leading up to the attack. He made masks that resembled those of each member of the band, including the one he wore during the attack. When police searched Harmse’s house, they found pentagrams on the walls, books about spells and witchcraft, and Ouija boards.

Pierre Eksteen, who runs a support system for students in South Africa, told a local newspaper that he believed Slipknot’s music to be satanic in nature and that it had influenced the boy to attack the victims. He was also adamant that children be made aware of the dangers of what he calls “bad music.”

5Marilyn Manson Blamed For Columbine Massacre

Marilyn Manson – The Dope Show (Official Music Video)

Seven years after the tragic events at Columbine High, the controversy connecting the boys who committed the crimes to the music of Marilyn Manson still hadn’t died down. In June 2006, Manson was scheduled to perform in Denver but was met by a mob of angry parents who blamed the rocker for the tragedy at the ill-fated high school.

A resounding echo of speculation, vicious gossip, and hateful sentiments has followed Manson ever since the day Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 of their fellow students, one of their teachers, and themselves at their high school in Colorado. It was thought that the boys were fans of Manson’s music and that the lyrics inspired them to act out their violent fantasies in a terrifying manner. News organizations fanned the flames of speculation by suggesting that the gothic rock music that Manson is known for incites violence and could therefore be linked to the Columbine killings.

Manson canceled five of his shows scheduled to take place in the week after the shooting out of respect for the victims but also publicly lashed out at the the newscasters who were blatantly accusing him of being partly to blame for the tragedy. He stated that the media had unfairly turned his kind of music into a scapegoat for acts of violence and that this type of finger-pointing could lead to similar tragedies, since teenagers who were “different” would feel even more sidelined and bullied.

4Eminem Lyrics Connected To Family Murder

Police: DC Officer Killed By Wife In Apparent Murder-Suicide

In 2009, Michael Miller attacked his wife and children with a knife. Miller’s wife and daughter died from the attack, while his four-year-old son survived 11 stab wounds. Miller told the police that he stabbed his son more because he loved him more.

Miller also confessed to police that he believed he was possessed and that his wife was a demon. He went on to say that before attacking his wife in the early hours of the morning, he started shouting out the lyrics of an Eminem song. According to Miller, he especially focused on the words “Here comes Satan, I’m the antichrist, I’m going to kill you.” He then viciously stabbed his wife and kids, said a prayer, and called 911. He also told this story to the 911 operator who answered his call.

The operator asked Miller if he’d had any murderous thoughts about his family before his incident. He said he hadn’t, although he did have a history of suicide attempts. Many news sites picked up the story, all of whom focused on involvement of Eminem’s lyrics. Strangely, though, those lyrics don’t seem to be from any actual Eminem song.

3Serial Killer Claims He Was Inspired By AC/DC Song

AC/DC: The Mysterious Death of Bon Scott

During the summer of 1985, the citizens of San Gabriel Valley, California had a hard time getting a good night’s sleep, and it wasn’t just the heat that kept them up. There was a serial killer on the loose who stalked his victims at night, using a variety of weapons.

Richard Ramirez often gained entry into unsuspecting residents’ homes via sliding doors that were left ajar. His horrific crime spree included the sodomy of an eight-year-old boy after raping the boy’s mother and shooting his father. He also beat a teenage girl with a tire iron and gouged the eyes out of one of his victims.

Ramirez was a satanist and apparently obsessed with the band AC/DC, particularly their album Highway to Hell. He frustrated police detectives by leaving lyrics of some of the band’s songs at crime scenes. After one of Ramirez’s hats featuring the band’s name was shown during news bulletins, the media dubbed him “Night Stalker” after the last song on Highway to Hell, “Night Prowler.”

The similarity between some of the lyrics of “Night Prowler” and the crimes committed by Ramirez convinced the public that the song was his main inspiration. Ramirez himself talked about how much he loved the band but never publicly stated that the songs inspired him to commit any of the 13 murders for which he was convicted.

2Horrorcore Songs Blamed For Four Murders

Bloodshot – Spill Your Blood

In 2009, tragedy befell a family in Farmville, Virginia when 16-year-old Emma Niederbrock, her parents, and her 18-year-old friend Melanie Wells were brutally murdered. The alleged murderer was Niederbrock’s boyfriend, Richard McCroskey. When McCroskey was arrested, rumors started flying about the motive for the killings. One of the rumors maintained that the horrorcore music that McCroskey loved motivated him to kill these four victims.

Horrorcore is a type of hip-hop music that generally contains bloody, violent, and disturbing lyrics. After failing to take off in the early ’90s, this music had wormed its way onto the Internet. It was particularly popular on MySpace, where young fans could listen to it online and chat about new releases. It was on this platform that McCroskey met Niederbrock.

Shortly before the murders, McCroskey traveled to Farmville to visit Niederbrock. The couple, her friend, and parents all traveled to South Gate in Michigan for a horrorcore concert featuring acts such as Bloodshot and Dismembered Fetus. Serial Killin Records, a horrorcore record label, posted a statement after the murders on behalf of their musicians denying any responsibility for the tragedy.

1Drowning Pool Song Blamed For Shooting Rampage

Drowning Pool – Bodies

In 2011, US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was critically wounded during a shooting spree in Tucson that claimed the lives of six people, including a nine-year-old girl. Giffords’s slow recovery was followed around the world.

Jared Loughner was quickly apprehended following the shooting. The subsequent investigation revealed that Loughner was a fan of the band Drowning Pool, and their song “Bodies” was one of his favorites. This discovery led many people, mostly in the media, to speculate that the song may have inspired the shooting.

This was not the first time this song, with its repeated refrain “Let the bodies hit the floor,” was implicated in such a tragedy. In 2003, 19-year-old Joshua Cooke shot his parents while listening to the song on headphones. Nevertheless, Drowning Pool was said to be devastated by the Giffords shooting. Even so, they posted a statement on their website that the shooters misinterpreted their lyrics, which cannot be blamed for the tragedies.

Estelle lives in Gauteng, South Africa. She is inspired to write by all things creepy and spooky. She also enjoys some metal songs, despite what’s being said about them.

fact checked by Jamie Frater

Estelle is a regular writer for Listverse.

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