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Slipknot has issued a statement about the involuntary manslaughter charges brought against Daniel Baldi, a 50-year-old Des Moines, Iowa doctor who is accused of over-prescribing narcotic painkillers to eight people who later died of overdoses -- one of whom was late Slipknot bass player Paul Gray.
The band's statement read, "As the loss of our brother Paul Gray is still very fresh for us in the Slipknot family, this new development has us all in a state of anger and sadness. The fact that this person took advantage of our brother's illness while he was in a position to help others has outraged everyone in our family. We can only hope that justice will be served so this can NEVER happen to anyone else ever again! Our thoughts go out to the families of the other victims. We plan to cooperate as much as we possibly can to ensure this tragedy is never repeated, and to make sure this man pays for what he has done."
While Slipknot percussionist Shawn "Clown" Crahan told the Des Moines Register that "none of it is going to bring back our brother Paul," he said about drug abuse "is becoming a problem amongst people. And it trickles all the way down to the youth. And awareness needs to be brought about."
He added that he was referring to "not only substance abuse but the ability to acquire substances, to get chemicals and the efficiency of it."
The charges against Baldi state that he "did unintentionally cause the death of Paul Gray by the commission of an act likely to cause death or serious injury, to wit, continually wrote high-dose prescription narcotics to a known drug addict from 12/27/2005 until his death."
The other seven victims named in the case also all died of overdoses. Baldi's attorney claims that the charges against his client are unprecedented in the state of Iowa and that he plans to vigorously fight them.
Gray was found dead in May 2010 at the age of 38 in a hotel room outside Des Moines, surrounded by drug paraphernalia. His death was ruled an accidental overdose of morphine and fentanyl, with his autopsy showing that Gray also suffered from significant heart disease.
Crahan told us that even as Slipknot moves forward with a new album next year, Gray will still be an important part of the band: "Paul will always be part of that nine. He will always be part of the next record -- he's got songs that he's written -- he will be there 'til the end of time. Number Two (Gray's number in the band) will always be represented. Paul Gray will always be talked about, he will always be onstage, he will always be part of the real nine."