Tuesday, October 12, 1999

General News Feature: Sheriff books drummer Tommy Lee

Greensboro News & Record-
October 12, 1999
Author/Byline: JANET A. BRINDLE
Staff Writer
Edition: ALL
Page: B1

        Heavy-metal drummer Tommy Lee flew into the Piedmont Triad International Airport Monday morning, stopped by to chat with the Guilford County sheriff, posted a $5,000 secured bond on a felony charge and rounded out his day with lunch at Lucky 32.

        It was a full day for the former main man of Motley Crue, one of the best-selling rock acts of the 1980s.

        Lee, 37, turned himself in to Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes at 11:30 a.m. on charges stemming from a Motley Crue performance more than two years ago at the Greensboro Coliseum. Lee's appearance to answer the charges against him followed the Sept. 3 arrest of the band's bassist, Nikki Sixx, in Raleigh on related charges stemming from the same Greensboro concert. Guilford deputies traveled to Raleigh then to take Sixx into custody but could not arrest Lee because he did not perform at that concert.

        The Guilford sheriff's department serves 5,000 warrants each month, Barnes said, and Lee and Sixx were just two more suspects to be found. Their fame, he said, didn't make the department's pursuit of them any stronger, or less diligent, than its pursuit of other suspects.

        ``He's just like anyone else in the eyes of the law,'' Barnes said of Lee.

        The charges were filed after a security guard at the Greensboro show claimed that band members shouted racial slurs at him and incited the crowd to throw beer at him. Warrants were issued for Lee's arrest two years ago, and he was served Monday with charges of felony riot with ethnic animosity and simple assault, a misdemeanor. He was released later Monday after posting the $5,000 bond.

        After arresting Sixx on Sept. 3, Barnes said, he sent home a clear message to Lee with Sixx: Lee could turn himself in, or he would find his name in the national crime information system database, a most-wanted list. If Lee's name had been added to that list, he could have been picked up by any law-enforcement agency at any time.

        Lee answered by asking his lawyer to set up a meeting with Barnes.

        ``I appreciate that he showed up,'' Barnes said of Lee. ``It saved us a lot of work.''

        Barnes said Lee was mild-mannered and polite. The musician listed his occupation on jail forms as a member of the band Motley Crue, although he has not been performing with the band at all its concerts.

        Barnes said he set up a private place to meet with Lee, and then Lee was processed at the jail, where he posted bond.

        ``He was last seen around 1:30 (p.m.) enjoying lunch at Lucky 32s,'' Barnes said.

        The manager of the restaurant would not say what Lee ate or whether he left a larger-than-normal tip.

        Lee's court date is scheduled for Oct. 20. Guilford County District Attorney Jim Kimel said Monday that he expects Lee to be present because he does not know of any provision in the law that allows a suspect to waive a hearing for a felony charge.

        Barnes said he expects the rockers will be given community service if they are convicted. He said he hopes Lee is forced to make a public-service announcement teaching good values to kids.

        The security guard who claims the band incited attacks against him filed a civil suit against Lee and Sixx. The case is scheduled to be heard by a judge in November.

Copyright 1999  Greensboro News & Record