The Reason Dimebag Darrell’s Girlfriend Blamed Phil Anselmo For His Murder

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When a musician tragically passes away, their family and friends sometimes put the blame on other people who may not be directly linked to the death. While it’s an understandable coping mechanism, it often causes damage to that person, especially if they are a former band member.

In Phil Anselmo‘s case, he had said unpleasant things before his former Pantera bandmate Dimebag Darrell’s premature death. When the guitarist passed away, his longtime girlfriend Rita Haney immediately accused Anselmo. The reason she blamed him wasn’t related to the vocalist’s brutal statements but his decision to leave the band.

Dimebag Darrell Was Tragically Murdered

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It all happened on December 8, 2004, when Damageplan had just started performing their first song on the setlist at the Alrosa Villa nightclub in Columbus, Ohio. A fan named Nathan Gale ran up to the stage and shot Dimebag Darrell multiple times. In the meantime, the band’s head of security was fatally injured while a fan and a venue employee were murdered as they attempted to save the guitarist.

Although a police officer entered the club and shot Gale once in the head to prevent further damage, Dimebag Darrell was pronounced dead at the scene at the age of 38. Following the devastating incident, thousands of fans and rock icons, such as Eddie Van Halen, Corey Taylor, and Jerry Cantrell, attended his public memorial and honored the late musician.

Dimebag Darrell’s Girlfriend Accused Phil Anselmo Of Causing His Murder

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Although Dimebag Darrell and Phil Anselmo were bandmates for more than two decades, they weren’t exactly best friends. They had a heated verbal fight after Darrell claimed Anselmo’s singing was damaged due to his addiction. As a reaction, the singer made a bold statement about his ex-bandmate, saying he deserves to be severely beaten. Ultimately, Anselmo was banned from attending Darrell’s funeral, even though he later admitted his words were distorted.

During an interview with Guitar World in 2008, Dimebag Darrell’s girlfriend of 20 years, Rita Haney, blamed his passing on Phil Anselmo. According to her, it was not about what the singer had previously said but his actions that led to Pantera’s disbandment.

Following the band’s disbandment in November 2003, the Abbott brothers formed Damageplan and kept on performing. Soon after, they agreed to perform at the Alrosa Villa nightclub, where the guitarist was murdered. Haney said the vocalist triggered everything that happened to the late Pantera icon since they disbanded because of Anselmo.

In her own words, Darrell’s girlfriend said:

If Phil Anselmo hadn’t quit Pantera, Darrell wouldn’t have been playing in that shithole where that guy could get to him. I was there when they lost their mom, and I know how much that hurt them. But honestly, the breakup of Pantera was worse. Vinnie would come over to the house, and he and Darrell would just go over and over scenarios in their heads, trying to figure out what they did wrong. But it wasn’t them.

They were trying to figure out a solution, and it really sucked to watch those two crying over that and not be able to do anything about it. The bottom line is Phil’s actions led to what happened. The guy wouldn’t have been after Vinnie and Darrell if Pantera had not broken up. It was all due to Phil’s stupid, stupid actions.”

It’s surprising to find out that the Abbott brothers were more upset about Pantera’s disbandment than losing their own mother. It appears that they deeply cared for their music with the band and blamed Phil Anselmo for taking it away from them. Regardless of their personal problems, it should be mentioned that Anselmo didn’t encourage anybody to murder Dimebag Darrell.