Punk rocker Lovato freed after fatal stabbing

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The singer with defunct punk rock band Mest was freed from a Los Angeles jail on Tuesday after prosecutors declined to prosecute him for stabbing to death a romantic rival two days earlier.

They determined that Tony Lovato, 26, had acted in self-defense when he stabbed Wayne Hughes with a pocketknife in the underground parking lot of an apartment building in the suburb of Studio City on Sunday.

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said in a statement that Lovato and Hughes had dated the same woman "back and forth for over a year," and that Hughes had sent threatening messages to Lovato.

The tension climaxed on Sunday when Hughes challenged Lovato to a fight, and Lovato tried to back off, the spokeswoman said, adding "there was insufficient evidence to show there was not a justifiable use of reasonable force in self defense."

Lovato, sporting a black eye from the fight, told reporters he was "not doing too good. I just had the hardest three days of my life." He said he would issue a statement on Friday.

Mest, which formed in suburban Chicago, recorded four albums for Madonna's Maverick Records before breaking up in early 2006. Its last album, 2005's "Photographs," peaked at No. 116 on the U.S. album charts.
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