No foul play in death at concert, police say

Investigators say Conn. man slipped, fell at PSINet Stadium

`Was always going to concerts'

July 06, 2000|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A 21-year-old Connecticut man who plunged 80 feet to his death during a Fourth of July rock concert at PSINet Stadium most likely slipped and fell, Baltimore police said yesterday.

The cause of death is pending final laboratory results to determine if Martin Muschett of Danbury, Conn., had been drinking. Police said there is no indication of foul play.

"At this point, there is no suggestion that he was pushed or was involved in an altercation," said Detective Homer Pennington of the homicide unit, which investigates questionable deaths.

Pennington said Muschett, a guitar player who celebrated his 21st birthday in April, had been drinking, but he did not know how much. Alcohol was being served at the event, attended by an estimated 40,000 spectators.

Muschett's mother said she had warned her son not to travel to Baltimore because he had just returned from another concert in Hartford and she thought two such shows in one week was too much.

"I pleaded with his friends not to take him," Verna Muschett, 58, said yesterday. "But he was always going to concerts." Muschett was majoring in business at the University of Connecticut until he dropped out last year to turn his attention to music.

His mother said Muschett was trying to start a band.

"He carried his guitar wherever he went," Mrs. Muschett said. "He wanted to be a rock star. He kept telling me, `Ma, I'm going to be rich some day.'"

Police said Muschett and two friends drove to Baltimore from Danbury to attend Tuesday's Summer Sanitarium Tour, which featured performers such as Metallica, Korn, Kid Rock, Powerman 5000 and System of a Down.

The trio had tickets near the stage, but Pennington said they got separated and Muschett wandered around until he got to the stadium's fifth story.

Pennington said witnesses saw him about 6:40 p.m. sitting at the top of the stadium on a 4-foot-high railing with his back to the inside of the stadium, and his feet dangling over the edge on the Hamburg Street side. Police said he apparently fell outside the stadium and landed on a concrete walkway near Gate A.

Muschett taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. His parents, Verna and Roy Muschett, were notified Tuesday night and were making funeral arrangements yesterday.

Richard W. Slosson, executive director of the Maryland Stadium Authority, said his office is awaiting the final police report before addressing the accident or safety questions.

The state requires that safety rails be at least 42 inches high; those at the stadium are 4 feet high. "We already exceed what the state code requires," Slosson said.

The authority's security director, Jim Slusser, said alcohol sales were cut off during the final act, as is routinely done at events, and he sees no reason to change the policy allowing beer. Tuesday's concert was the only such program scheduled this year at the stadium, and the accident was the first fatality since it opened two years ago.

Mrs. Muschett said her son became interested in rock music when he was 16 and spent a year in France in a study-abroad program. Though a stellar student, he dropped out of college to pursue his dream of being a rock star.

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