Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Subdued Axl Rose a Spectacle in Court Rocker Lets Lawyers Do Talking in Trial

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Subdued Axl Rose a Spectacle in Court Rocker Lets Lawyers Do Talking in Trial

Article excerpt

Axl Rose took center stage in St. Louis Thursday without saying a word, singing a note or leaping into the crowd.

Heads turned as Rose, leader of the rock band Guns N' Roses, entered a crowded sixth-floor courtroom from the side door and sat down with his back to spectators and news cameras.

He wore a gray suit, white shirt - no tie. His straight, reddish hair fell far below his shoulders.

Large men who escorted Rose in and out of the circuit court building described themselves as part of the rock star's "management team."

Rose, 31, is in court because of the riot at the Guns N' Roses concert July 2, 1991, at the Riverport amphitheater in Maryland Heights. The rocker is the main defendant in a civil suit filed by William "Stump" Stephenson of St. Louis.

Stephenson, 28, alleges that he hurt his back when Rose dived off the stage and landed on him. Defense lawyers said Rose was trying to get a camera that Stephenson used to take unauthorized photographs. The trial was expected to last about a week.

Rose ignored the courtroom spectators, whose numbers rose and fell during the trial's first day. But the singer chatted amiably with his lawyers, particularly Barbara Wallace, as they watched a videotape of the concert. His lawyers say Rose will testify.

The jury of seven men and five women watched the concert videotape. About 90 minutes into the event, Rose pointed and shouted: "Take that! Take that! Get that guy and take that. I'll take it, . . . "

Rose then belly-flopped off the stage. The video shows what appears to be scuffling. When Rose returned to the stage, he grabbed the microphone and told the crowd: "Thanks to the . . . security, I'm going home."

In parting, he flung down the microphone and stalked off the stage.

A friend of Stephenson, Jeffrey Banks, testified that he owned the camera. Banks and Stephenson are members of the Saddle Tramps motorcycle club.

Banks, 27, said he took his camera from Stephenson when he saw Rose pointing at his friend. Rose then dived onto Stephenson, and both of them fell over chairs bolted to the concrete floor, Banks said.

Stephenson appeared dazed and injured. …

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