Elyse Pahler

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Elyse Pahler at age 15, some months before the murder Elyse.JPG
Elyse Pahler at age 15, some months before the murder

Elyse Marie Pahler (April 24, 1980 – July 22, 1995 [1] ) was a murder victim, whose parents attempted to sue the American thrash metal band Slayer, claiming that their music contributed to their daughter's death. Pahler was murdered in the summer of 1995.

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead work. The lyrics often deal with social issues and criticism of The Establishment, using direct and denunciatory language, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

Slayer American thrash metal band

Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California. The band was formed in 1981 by vocalist and bassist Tom Araya and guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman. Slayer's fast and aggressive musical style made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax. Slayer's current lineup comprises King, Araya, drummer Paul Bostaph and guitarist Gary Holt. Hanneman and drummers Dave Lombardo and Jon Dette are former members of the band.



Fifteen-year-old Elyse Pahler's body was discovered near her home in Arroyo Grande, California, in March 1996. She had been raped and murdered there eight months earlier by acquaintances Jacob Delashmutt, Joseph Fiorella and Royce Casey. The perpetrators apparently returned to the corpse and had sex with it on several occasions. The body was located after Casey confessed to the crime following a conversion to Christianity. All three eventually pleaded no contest to her murder and are now imprisoned and serving 25 years to life. [2]

California State of the United States of America

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

Christianity is an Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament.

Nolo contendere is a legal term that comes from the Latin phrase for "I do not wish to contend" and it is also referred to as a plea of no contest.

The trio lured Elyse from her house with the stated intention of killing her as part of a satanic ritual, although the crime bears many of the hallmarks of similar sexually motivated murders. In their defense, the defendants said they had needed to commit a "sacrifice to the devil" in order to give their heavy metal band, Hatred, the "craziness" to "go professional". [3]

Devil supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of god and humankind

A devil is the personification of evil as it is conceived in many and various cultures and religious traditions. It is seen as the objectification of a hostile and destructive force.

David and Lisanne Pahler claimed that the Slayer songs "Postmortem" and "Dead Skin Mask" (from the albums Reign in Blood and Seasons in the Abyss , respectively) gave the three killers detailed instructions to "stalk, rape, torture, murder and commit acts of necrophilia" on their daughter. The lawsuit was originally filed in 1996 but delayed until 2000 when the killers' trial was concluded. The initial case was originally thrown out, the judge stating, "There's not a legal position that could be taken that would make Slayer responsible for the girl's death. Where do you draw the line? You might as well start looking through the library at every book on the shelf." [4]

<i>Reign in Blood</i> 1986 studio album by Slayer

Reign in Blood is the third studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer, released on October 7, 1986 by Def Jam Recordings. The album was the band's first collaboration with producer Rick Rubin, whose input helped the band's sound evolve. The release date of the album was delayed because of concerns regarding the lyrical subject matter of the opening track "Angel of Death", which refers to Josef Mengele and describes acts such as human experimentation that he committed at the Auschwitz concentration camp. However, the band's members stated numerous times that they did not condone Nazism and were merely interested in the subject.

<i>Seasons in the Abyss</i> 1990 studio album by Slayer

Seasons in the Abyss is the fifth studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer, released on October 9, 1990 by Def American Records. Recording sessions began in March 1990 at Hit City West and Hollywood Sound, and ended in June 1990 at The Record Plant in Los Angeles, California. It was the band's last album to feature original drummer Dave Lombardo until 2006's Christ Illusion. Seasons in the Abyss' musical style has been compared by critics to the band's previous two albums South of Heaven (1988) and Reign in Blood (1986).

Stalking is unwanted and/or repeated surveillance by an individual or group towards another person. Stalking behaviors are interrelated to harassment and intimidation and may include following the victim in person or monitoring them. The term stalking is used with some differing definitions in psychiatry and psychology, as well as in some legal jurisdictions as a term for a criminal offense.

Undeterred, the Pahlers launched a second lawsuit claiming that Slayer "knowingly distributed harmful material to minors." [5] This case too was dismissed, with Judge E. Jeffrey Burke stating, "I do not consider Slayer's music obscene, indecent or harmful to minors." [5]

Jacob Delashmutt himself stated in a Washington Post interview that "The music is destructive [but] that's not why Elyse was murdered. She was murdered because Joe [Fiorella] was obsessed with her, and obsessed with killing her." [2]

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  1. "Latest local news from San Luis Obispo, CA - The Tribune". sanluisobispo.com.
  2. 1 2 "Judge Throws Out Slayer Suit". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on January 5, 2008. Retrieved 2015-11-30.
  3. "Elyse Pahler: Killed in Nipomo in 1995". April 14, 2010.
  4. "Slayer Case Dismissed". Metal Hammer. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-02-20.
  5. 1 2 "Slayer: Out of the Dock". Metal Hammer. Archived from the original on 2007-03-10. Retrieved 2007-02-20.