Taken from Altpress.com
January's Most Anticipated issue promised a summer release from Las Vegas hardcore punk band Escape the Fate, who were slated to begin recording their follow-up to 2006 debut Dying Is Your Latest Fashion this month. But as the issue went to press, guitarist Omar Espinoza amicably left the band, and it seems that lead singer Ronald "Ronnie" Radke has now parted ways with the group as well, though under far grimmer circumstances.
On January 15, Radke, 24, pled guilty to one charge of battery with substantial bodily harm and was sentenced to five years' probation as well as ordered to pay nearly $100,000 restitution for the May 6, 2006 death of 18-year-old Michael Cook.
The following day, a source close to the band who wished to remain anonymous confirmed that Radke -- who co-founded the group with bassist Max Green in 2005 -- was no longer a member (Radke subsequently confirmed his departure via MySpace).
According to police reports, the incident occurred when Radke had agreed to a one-on-one fight with former friend Marcel Colquitt in a secluded desert area near Las Vegas' North Decatur Avenue. Colquitt later stated he had been angered by Radke referring to his girlfriend as a "coke whore," while Radke said the female in question had been harassing Green and Green's girlfriend over the Internet.
Colquitt brought along four additional people; Radke brought three, and each side was carrying brass knuckles, bats and at least one firearm. During the altercation, Radke's friend Chase Rader fired, leaving Colquitt's brother Michael wounded and his friend Cook dead.
Rader was initially charged with murder, but charges were later dropped. Marcel Colquitt, who was charged as a co-defendant in the case with Radke and faced possible jail time, committed suicide in September.
"I don't think probation is good enough for him," said Cook's mother, Ceda Freeman, to whom Radke must pay $92,372 restitution. "He has absolutely destroyed my family."
As a condition of Radke's probation, he must be employed full tine. Judge Mosley previously said that a deal could be reached to consider Escape the Fate a full-time job. A second condition prevents Radke from leaving the country or transferring his probation to another state - which put possible tour plans on an indefinite hold.
Mosley also gave a third condition: Radke must enroll in a drug-and-alcohol-rehabilitation program. While rumors of Radke's drug problems have been prevalent throughout Escape the Fate's career, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's Jose Montoya, Radke has been arrested for at least six counts of narcotics possession -- including heroin -- since August 2006.
Violation of any of the terms of Radke's probation will force the singer to serve a four-year suspended prison sentence, also handed down by Mosley.
"If your drug problem is as pervasive as it seems, it's a foregone conclusion that you'll be back here in court in front of me...and you'll be facing four years," Mosley told Radke at the sentencing.
An Epitaph spokesman could not comment on Radke's sentencing nor the state of the band.