Musicians who ruined innocent lives

Celebrity musicians can earn top dollar for their art, and, considering how the music industry is a multi-billion dollar business with no signs of slowing down, potential profit is unlimited. After all, fans, who buy up concert tickets and boost music videos streams, can't get enough of their favorite artists. Many even hope to one day meet their faves — but that's not always a good idea. 

While most encounters with musicians give regular people a cool story to tell at parties, too many have instead ended in tragedy. Insulated by their fame, celebs sometimes exhibit violent behavior, and, unfortunately, they don't always face consequences for their actions. From freak accidents, to vehicular manslaughter, to brutal beatings over perceived slights, many innocent lives have been affected after merely being in the vicinity of a chart-topping star at the wrong time. Let's take a look at musicians who ruined innocent lives.

Carlos Bertonatti

As reported by Local 6 Miami, on the morning of Jan. 17, 2010, up-and-coming Miami pop singer Carlos Bertonatti struck and killed cyclist Christophe Le Canne on Bear Cut Bridge. Bertonatti, who was intoxicated at the time of the accident, had reportedly swerved onto the shoulder, hitting Le Canne. But he didn't stop. Instead, the aspiring singer fled the scene and drove for nearly three miles with Le Canne's bicycle wedged under his car. 

Le Canne was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Three years later after a lengthy trial, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Bronwyn Miller sentenced Bertonatti to 12 years in prison, claiming Bertonatti "cruelly and irreparably destroyed life as it was known to the entire LeCanne family," and "extinguished the life of a loving husband, father and an outstanding human being" (via Local 6 Miami). His defense attorney claimed he didn't understand the ruling as people usually receive "four or five years for this type of crime." 

However, Bertonatti's lengthy history of reckless driving was reportedly considered a factor in the sentencing, as it was discovered that the pop singer had some 30 violations for "everything from running a stop sign to driving without a license or insurance to skipping tolls and speeding" (via Miami New Times). As noted by NBC Miami, Prosecutor Warren Eth thanked the judge for the "thoughtful and just sentence" and stated that the Le Canne family had been "waiting three years for this."

Keith Moon

The Who's Keith Moon was a legendary drummer who suffered a severe alcohol addiction that led to his death at the age of 32 in 1978. In a time before Uber, that addiction prompted Moon to hire a personal chauffeur — his friend Cornelius Boland — to drive him to and from pubs. But on Jan. 4, 1970, things took a tragic turn when a group of skinheads allegedly "stormed the car as Moon, his wife, and several friends were leaving a club" (via Rolling Stone).

Somehow Boland, who was just 24 at the time, exited the vehicle, and a very intoxicated Moon allegedly took the wheel, reportedly resulting in his friend being crushed to death after he was "knocked into the path of the car" during the brawl. Following the incident, Moon pleaded guilty to drunk driving, driving without a license, and driving without insurance, but he was cleared of all charges after the coroner ruled Boland's death an accident. The judge decided Moon "had no choice but to act" and therefore had "no moral culpability." 

Although multiple witnesses and a passenger, Jean Battye, confirmed Moon was the driver, Boland's daughter contends that Moon's wife, Kim, was actually behind the wheel on that fateful day. "Keith took the blame for what happened," she stated.

Still, regardless of what happened, Moon had been the one to bring Boland into the mix by hiring him as his driver, so it'd seem that he was, at the very least, indirectly responsible for Boland's passing.

Brandy

In 2006, R&B singer Brandy caused a fatal four-car crash on the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles after failing to slow down and striking "the back of a 2005 Honda at about 65 mph," as reported by Billboard. The force of the impact caused the driver of the Honda, 38-year-old Awatef Aboudihaj, to slam into another vehicle and slide sideways into a center divider before being struck head-on by an oncoming vehicle driven by a 50-year-old woman, identified as Mallory Ham.

Aboudihaj died of "blunt-force injuries" at the hospital, and her death was ruled an accident. Although Brandy wasn't criminally charged for her role in the crash, she settled multiple civil lawsuits filed by Ham and the family of Aboudihaj — including her two children. Per E! News, Donald Lite, a motorist involved in the crash, also filed a lawsuit claiming "serious and permanent injuries." 

In 2014, Brandy sat down with Oprah and reflected on the crash that killed the mother of two. "Being involved in something that tragic … I couldn't believe it," she said (via HuffPost). "I don't think that's something I could ever get over or ever truly understand, but that was one of the worst times in my life." 

Sid Vicious

Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious met Nancy Spungen in London in 1977, marking the start of a short but tumultuous relationship that ended with her death. On Oct. 12, 1978, Spungen's body, per Rolling Stone, was found in their room at Hotel Chelsea, where she'd "bled to death on the bathroom floor" from a knife wound to the stomach. She was 20. 

As noted by The Independent, Vicious was arrested and charged with murder after police discovered him "wandering the hallways in an agitated state." Despite already confessing to killing his girlfriend, Vicious recanted his story, "claiming he had been asleep when she died." Four months later, before he could stand trial, the 21-year-old rock star died of a heroin overdose. According to BBC, his mother "found him dead in bed with his sleeping girlfriend in an apartment in Greenwich Village," following a party the night before.

So, did Vicious end Spungen's life? It's unclear, but it would appear that he was in some way involved in her passing.

Dr. Dre

Back in the '90s, journalist Denise "Dee" Barnes accused rapper/producer Dr. Dre of severe physical abuse. According to the Los Angeles Times, Dre brutally attacked Barnes, the host of the hip-hop show Pump It Up!, at a private record-release party.

"He picked me up by my hair and my ear and smashed my face and body into the wall," Barnes recalled. "Next thing I know, I'm down on the ground, and he's kicking me in the ribs and stamping on my fingers. I ran into the women's bathroom to hide, but he burst through the door and started bashing me in the back of the head." Dre allegedly attacked Barnes because "a television spot featuring former N.W.A member Ice Cube" was shown during an episode of her show. 

Barnes later filed a $22.7 million lawsuit against the mogul for assault and battery.

In a 1991 profile with Rolling Stone, Dre casually admitted to the assault, saying, "I just did it, you know. Ain't nothing you can do now by talking about it. Besides, it ain't no big thing — I just threw her through a door."

As a result of the attack, Barnes claimed that she "suffers from major migraines" and has endured "emotional grief" whenever the attack is mentioned in pop culture (via HuffPost). "Somehow [the assault] was reduced to a joke, I ain't no joke. I'm not," she said in the 2015 interview, referencing Eminem's 1999 collaboration with Dre, "Guilty Conscious." "And domestic violence is no joke."

Charles Manson

Charles Manson was once an aspiring musician with a few recorded tracks. His music career never took off, though, because, after a chance meeting with The Beach Boys' Dennis Wilson in 1968, Manson received an invite to Wilson's studio where he allegedly "had a disagreement with Wilson's producers and ended up pulling a knife on them" (via Business Insider).

A year later, Manson orchestrated nine grisly murders over the course of two months that were carried out by members of his cult, The Family. The most infamous murder scene took place at the Benedict Canyon home of director Roman Polanski where five people were brutally murdered. Per CNN, the victims included, "Polanski's pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, writer Wojciech Frykowski, coffee heiress Abigail Folger and celebrity hair stylist Jay Sebring." Steven Parent, "a friend of the family's gardener," was also killed in the attack.

In 1971, Manson received the death penalty, but his sentence was commuted to life in prison after California abolished the death penalty. Manson later died in prison of natural causes on Nov. 19, 2017, at the age of 83. Debra Tate, Sharon's sister, said of Manson's death in an interview with ABC News, "People are saying that this should be some kind of relief, but oddly enough, it really isn't." 

XXXTentacion

XXXTentacion's life was cut short at the age of 20 when he was shot and killed during an apparent robbery in Florida in 2018. But while fans mourned his death, the controversial rapper's violent past couldn't be ignored. 

Before the release of his debut album, XXXTentacion was facing charges of "aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness-tampering," after a woman claimed that she'd "suffered a grim pattern of routine abuse" at his hands (via Pitchfork). According to the 142-page transcript of her testimony, the rapper threatened to penetrate her vaginally with "grilling implements," and allegedly "head-butted her, punched her, stomped on her, and put her in the bathtub, where he continued hitting and kicking her." She also alleged that the rapper "broke a good 30 hangers" on her legs.

After his death, audio from a podcast appearance in 2016, in which XXXTentacion openly bragged about nearly beating a "gay cellmate to death while he was in juvenile detention," circulated online (via Metro). After describing throwing the man's head against a concrete slab and stomping on his jaw, the rapper continued to be shockingly candid, stating, "So like I'm strangling him and he's leaking, leaking [blood and bodily fluids] like type-s**t, and I'm about to kill this n****r." 

His reasoning for flying into a murderous rage? "Bro, I was naked and he was just staring at me!" he explained. "You feel me?" 

Cee Lo Green

In 2012, Cee Lo Green was the subject of an LAPD sexual battery investigation after a woman accused the singer of slipping her ecstasy without her consent during dinner at a Los Angeles restaurant. Per The Guardian, the woman claimed "she had no memory of the period between dining with Green" and "waking up naked in the singer's bed." No rape or sexual assault charges were filed due to lack of evidence, but Green was charged with furnishing a controlled substance. 

As reported by Complex, Green received "three years probation and 45 days of community service" from the judge, but he felt the need to post some strange tweets, in which he attempted to define rape. "If someone is passed out they're not even WITH you consciously," he tweeted, adding, "People who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!" He continued, "If someone is passed out they're not even WITH you consciously! so WITH Implies consent." His tweets have since been deleted.

Green's alleged victim has yet to speak publicly, and we can fully understand why she would choose to try to put this behind her.

Robert Harrell

Robert "Todd" Harrell, the former bassist for rock band 3 Doors Down, was charged with vehicular homicide in 2013. According to The Tennessean, Harrell was traveling 101 mph on Interstate 40 near Nashville when he "clipped a pickup truck being driven by 47-year-old Paul Shoulders Jr.," causing the truck to flip over a guardrail. Shoulders eventually succumbed to his injuries and died at the hospital. Already on his second DUI, Harrell had alprazolam and oxycodone in his system the night of the crash.

While this case was pending, Harrell was charged with another DUI after police found him "slumped over the steering wheel at an intersection," as reported by TMZ. He was later sentenced to two years behind bars.

In a tearful 2017 interview with The Tennessean, Shoulders' sister, Tina Baltz, said 3 Doors Down's music was helping her grieve and "sort things out" until her daughter discovered Harrell was her brother's killer. "They were one of my favorite bands," she said.

Matthew Broderick

While he will forever be known as Ferris Bueller, Matthew Broderick won the 1995 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, making him a bonafide musician. He was even nominated for the same award again, after starring in the 2001 Broadway hit The Producers. However, despite all his success, Broderick must live with the fact that his actions led to the deaths of two people.

In August 1987, Broderick was driving in Ireland with then-girlfriend Jennifer Grey when he swerved into the wrong lane and struck another car head-on, killing mother and daughter Margaret Doherty, 60, and Anna Gallagher, 28, instantly. Per the Orlando Sentinel, the actor was charged with "causing death by reckless driving," but he pleaded down to careless driving and walked to freedom after paying a $175 fine. After the verdict was rendered, Gallagher's husband called it a ”travesty of justice.”

According to the New York Post, Broderick spent a month in the hospital "with a fractured leg and ribs, collapsed lung and concussion," and claimed to have no memory of the fatal crash. Grey has said she never emotionally recovered from the tragic accident.