Time to finish off I think. Today I simply want to deep dive into the supposed evidence and leave the whole topic there. If you haven’t done so yet go listen to Tom Grant’s taped evidence at http://www.cobaincase.com and note that he’s only released tapes that support the more innocuous of the claims he makes in this book — most of those featuring Rosemary Carroll are Grant talking with Rosemary just agreeing that she’s doubtful and still shocked by it all. Barely any of the tapes are more than a matter of seconds, the topics are barely focused and the only interesting one is the minute and a half exchange over the existence of a letter in a bed. Enjoy!
The issue of the use of Kurt Cobain’s credit card after his death is often cited as an ‘ah-ha’ moment for the murder case but there’s no evidence whatsoever that the card was taken from the crime scene. Two reasonable arguments, firstly, technical error, secondly, theft or loss in the days prior to death, are available. A third option is supplied within Love & Death which is that, as the authors state they suspected, a member of what they call “Cobain’s entourage” could use the card number without the card being present — essentially there are three good alternatives rather than the killer being dopey enough to use their victim’s card. Frankly, having executed this murder cunningly concealing it as a suicide, it seems unlikely the killer would take the risk of stealing the credit card given even the merest idiot knows that would create an electronic record. Of course, if the (non)killer was Courtney’s agent she may have mentioned having cancelled the credit cards but that’s supposition so strike it from the record. Far more importantly, in the conspiratorial version of events this greedy killer took the credit card but left $120 sitting on the floor plus a further $63 in Cobain’s pocket — $183 dollars in untraceable hard cash that could never have been connected back to Cobain was abandoned but an easily noticeable credit card, that if used would create an electronic record, was taken.
The authors also dwell on the absence of fingerprints yet, again, there’s a sleight of hand taking place; they state clearly on page 222 “when the police dusted for fingerprints, they actually found four latent prints.” What they are really referring to is the absence of other prints. They disingenuously question why there are no prints from Dylan Carlson or the salesman from March 30 nine days before— I can understand a buyer giving the object a casual wipe on the way home and nine day old prints not being guaranteed. Kurt Cobain’s body lay for around three days in an unheated space with the moisture levels and so forth affected by the joyously wet world of the Pacific North-West. There’s no reason to believe that residual oil from fingertips would be unaffected. The book also describes that different conditions make it more or less likely for fingerprints to be left anyway. Again, it’s a non-evidential point.
The authors at least accept that the gun was wedged tight in Cobain’s hands. But they move into la-la-land again with a bitty and fragmented discussion of where the gun blast would leave the shotgun lying after firing. It’s quite remarkable, someone is genuinely trying to scientifically demonstrate the likely place a gun would fall without definite proof of body position when fired, of force of shot, of position of mouth on gun, of tightness of grip, of gun-butt position — they’ve no valid evidence at all with which to either cast doubt or make claims. It’s pure fantasy.
Next there’s the matter of the claim that Kurt Cobain’s note was in fact a statement that he was quitting Nirvana/music; they make it repeatedly yet this is palpable nonsense. The note rambles widely over comments around the personality of his daughter, of his wife, it doesn’t mention Nirvana by name, it dwells on personal feelings of fear, hatred, disappointment, sadness — one could read, at most, two paragraphs of it as part of a resignation statement but no more. The claim also rests on the bizarre idea that Cobain left the statement lying around so his killer (presumably while escorting Kurt and a shotgun from the house) scooped it up “ah, helpful! A note that just happens to read like a suicide note!” Perhaps the killer stood over Kurt like a school teacher and made him write it? It’s a poor claim and a deeply selective note reading.
The authors move on and claim that Tom Grant has evidence, that he never shows them, that Courtney was practising handwriting. The book deftly evades ever comparing the supposed sample to the Cobain note; that would have helped but it seems that either the samples didn’t match, or there’s no proof they even existed. It also relies on a fascinating set-up in which Courtney Love mailed or hand-delivered the chosen killer after Kurt’s unplanned leave from rehab to supply a note — it’s the only way this piece about handwriting is relevant, she’d have had to write and mail the note on the off-chance Cobain turned up in a killable scenario. Again, there’s only one man’s word for any of it but it posits that Courtney was already planning to somehow lure Cobain into a situation in which a suicide scenario could be set-up and arranged which seems bizarre given she doesn’t know where he is. Meanwhile, as I describe in Dark Slivers: Seeing Nirvana in the Shards of Incesticide, the note is entirely in line with Cobain’s use of images found elsewhere in his writing, its loaded with personal references and descriptions that match with his other writings and the tone, right down to the self-depreciation, fits his known work; there’s nothing at all to show the note isn’t the work of Kurt D. Cobain.
Failing to make a case for the note being a forgery the authors have such threadbare material they instead shoehorn in the claim that the final four lines were written by someone else. I can’t tell if they’re saying Courtney practiced two versions of Cobain’s handwriting just for the occasion, or that she somehow got to the scene to write them in before the Police got there, or that the cunning killer wrote them to leave a handwriting sample to be picked up at the scene — either way, Courtney couldn’t write the last four lines without having written the rest of the note (if delivered to the killer) which makes a nonsense of the ‘two forms of handwriting’ claim. Unless they’re arguing Courtney didn’t write it at all and that the killer appended the last four lines in which case their argument about her practising handwriting is shown to be irrelevant. Certainly the authors show Ms Love to be quite a woman, I mean, WOW, she’s permanently on the phone, she’s in prison, in hospital, on drugs, preparing to release an album, running round in a limousine arranging contract killings, mailing off notes, practising her handwriting, oh, and being a mother on top of it. It’s a jumble of nonsense.
Again, the topic shifts — that’s the crucial modus operandi of these books, given the absence of any deep or meaningful evidence for anything that is stated the authors simply have to tag together a wide enough variety of material to hide the gaping holes. The discussion moves to Rome in March; again, there’s claim and counter-claim that there was/wasn’t a note wedged in with doubt whether it was/wasn’t a suicide note — again, no proof. Over and over again what really bothers me is that entire arguments are made on the basis of nothing more than the statements of Tom Grant. He claims Courtney was attempting to mislead him, or told him things he found untrue yet, over and again, the only word available is that of Tom Grant.
The matter of the unlocked balcony door is brought up — the possibility that someone clambered over the balcony and dropped the nine-ten foot to the ground below having killed Cobain. They claim that the Police are being deceptive and that the door was not, in fact, barricaded therefore anyone could have been in the room. Again, it’s a disingenuous statement; there’s still a door with a chair with a pile of gardening supplies on it positioned closely enough to the door as to make it hard for anyone to slip out and to end up being reported as ‘wedged.’ More importantly, to me anyway, it’s simply unnecessary for the killer to have to leap spectacularly over a balcony railing and risk injury. The victim is dead, the scene is posed, the killer can simply stroll out the door the same way they and their victim walked in. If they fear observation or detection then a stunning dive off a balcony and crash-down is definitely not the way to go. Instead, let’s just say that Cobain had no reason to lock doors that didn’t lead to an exit — he wanted privacy so he locked the only true entrance. Superman wasn’t going to fly in.
The rest of the book’s 270 odd pages is basically made up of hearsay, discussion of unrelated matters, quotations of dubious relevance (no, sorry, the fact Leland Cobain things Kurt was murdered isn’t evidence — sorry.) Adding it all together, is it possible to say something odd was going on? I mean, think of it; massive heroin dose, unlocked door, no fingerprints, missing credit card, apparently unclear behaviour from wife and others, unopened drinks can at the scene, Allen Wrench — surely this is all weight for the murder claim?
Again, take it apart again; no proof that the heroin dose was so massive or of Cobain’s tolerance level, unlocked door still partially blocked and not leading to an exit, there were fingerprints, better arguments around the credit card, no proof bar Tom Grant’s word for most of what he claims about wife and others, no proven relevance of the drinks can, no proof whatsoever (and a public denial) from Mr Wrench. Having a load of unexplored avenues doesn’t mean there’s a case to be made. The weight of evidence is still far more on the side of suicide; very much so. Missing so hard to locate, killed by own gun found in own hand, only true entrance/exit locked, note in own handwriting, major drug addiction, estrangement from all except drug connections, marital breakdown, professional breakdown, apparent depressive tendencies and no antipathy to the idea of suicide.
I’ve now read the two books, the PDF link given the other day, the two main websites, chunks of the Harrison book and the end result is I see a batch of people making money and/or publicity off the idea that Kurt Cobain was murdered. I see no reason to accept that Tom Grant has been unfairly treated, or that the Seattle Police were negligent, or that any of the claims made for the murder theory stand up to any examination at all. But what the hey, it’s all kinda fun isn’t it? Maybe that’s all this is now, a twenty year old death only lives on as infotainment.
Note that this post is one of four linked articles on the topic: