The Kurt Cobain Conspiracy - Suicide or Murder?
Why the investigation into Kurt Cobain's death should be reopened
Kurt Cobain's music and the passion he put into it has been a great influence on me over the years. Through the research I have done I have come to the conclusion that he didn't choose to die or have any control over what happened to him in the end. I believe that his death needs to be re-investigated, and his murderer(s) brought to justice, so that he can finally rest in peace.
At the time of writing, 15th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death has passed, and we are still no closer to unravelling the mystery that surrounds it.
3 things you should know about The Kurt Cobain Conspiracy
1. This is not a simple case of suicide.
2. The detective hired by Courtney Love to find her husband now believes she is responsible for his death.
3. Somebody came forward following his death stating that Courtney offered him money to kill Kurt Cobain, and then he also died mysteriously shortly afterwards.
The main participants in the case - Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain, the founder and driving force behind Nirvana, has been described many times as being suicidal at the time of his death. However, there are many sources who believe this is not the case.
These sources (who knew him well) claim that he was the happiest he had been in a long time. Much of this seemed to be due to his decision to leave both the music business and his unhappy marriage behind.
He had got to the point in his career where he didn't need to tour endlessly, or constantly promote his work. He'd already made his millions. Kurt appeared now to want nothing more than to spend time with his baby daughter Frances Bean, who was the most important thing in his life.
Courtney Love, his wife
Courtney Love married Kurt Cobain in February 1992, when she was already pregnant with Frances Bean. There has been speculation that the pregnancy was the main reason for Kurt to get married, and that Courtney was simply marrying for money. However, at this time, they did appear to be very much in love.
Courtney's band Hole had achieved some modest success, although nowhere near on the scale of Nirvana. She used Kurt's influence to gain publicity for Hole.
The pursuit of wealth was always more important to Courtney. It is widely believed that she instigated a rift between Kurt and the rest of the band by insisting that he should have a greater share of the royalties, and then is said to have "gone ballistic" when he turned down an offer to headline the Lollapalooza Festival.
Bearing in mind that Kurt and Courtney had a pre-nuptial agreement, and that he was planning to leave her and the music business, how far would she go to stop him and hang on to the money?
Michael "Cali" DeWitt
Michael "Cali" DeWitt was the couple's nanny at the time of Kurt's death, and allegedly an ex boyfriend of Courtney.
He was with them during the Rome Incident (see below), and also staying at their home during the last few days of Kurt's life. Courtney left him behind when she went to Los Angeles to promote her new album. Is is possible he was at the house when Kurt died, although this has not been proved.
Hank Harrison is Courtney's father. They appear to have turbulent relationship, and have done since she was a teenager.
Hank Harrison has gone on record of saying that he believed that Courtney was responsible for Kurt's death. He has been interviewed on television, and has written a book about the subject.
Tom Grant is the private detective hired by Courtney Love to find her husband when he absconded from rehab shortly before he died.
During his investigation, he came across many inconsistancies with Courtney's story, and even once Kurt's body was found he continued to investigate. However, by this point he was treating Courtney as his prime suspect in the case.
Shortly before Kurt was found, he searched the house with Kurt's best friend Dylan Carlson. At this time, he didn't even see the greenhouse, and Dylan (who knew the house) didn't mention it.
After Kurt died, Rosemary Carroll told Tom Grant that she overheard Courtney's side of a telephone conversation to Dylan, when he was telling her they were going to search the house. Rosemary distinctly remembers Courtney telling Dylan to check the greenhouse. Dylan denies this.
Tom Grant's investigation is ongoing.
Dylan Carlson was Kurt's best friend, and drug dealer to both Kurt and Courtney. It was Dylan that bought the gun which ended Kurt's life, although Dylan is adamant that Kurt was not suicidal. He claims that Kurt had told him he wanted a gun because he was scared of intruders, and didn't want to buy it in his name because he thought it would be confiscated by the police. This was because Courtney had called them not long before, saying that he had locked himself in the bathroom with a gun, and was suicidal.
Interview with Dylan Carlson from Kurt & Courtney
Rosemary Carroll was Kurt and Courtney's lawyer. She is convinced that Kurt was happy and making plans for the future. She is certain that he was not suicidal.
Just weeks before Kurt died, Rosemary says that Kurt phoned her to ask her to change his will, and take Courtney's name out of it. She also knew that Kurt was planning to leave the band. At around the same time, Rosemary claims that Courtney called asking her to find the meanest, most vicious divorce lawyer she could find. She also asked if there was any way to void the pre-nuptial agreement.
However, she is now reluctant to publicly state her concerns about the case, preumably for fear of how Courtney would react.
El Duce and Alan Wrench
There is much speculation that Courtney hired someone to kill her husband. Eldon Hoke (a.k.a.) El Duce came forward after Kurt's death, claiming that she had tried to hire him to do this. He refused the offer.
El Duce was then interviewed for the BBC television documentary Kurt and Courtney. He named a man called Alan, who he believed had taken on the job. This is widely believed to be Alan Wrench, who has also since been interviewed on camera. Although, he did not categorically admit or deny the accusation, he seemed intent on hinting that he may be responsible. Whether true or not, he appeared to enjoy the idea that the public would believe he was guilty, but that no one would be able to prove it.
A matter of days after El Duce's taped interview, he also died in mysterious circumstances.
Kurt & Courtney: Nick Broomfield interview with El Duce
This is Kurt Cobain's grandfather. He is also convinced that Kurt was not planning to commit suicide, and believes Courtney responsible.
He has been interviewed and said that Kurt was planning a fishing trip with him, although Kurt died before the time they had arranged to go.
Leland Cobain Interview
Kristen Pfaff was a member of Courtney Love's band Hole. There has been speculation that Courtney believed Kurt and Kristen were having an affair, although this has never been proved.
Shortly after Kurt's death Kristen decided to leave Courtney and the band behind. She packed her belongings to return to her parents house. However, when her brother arrived to drive her there, she was found dead in the bath from an overdose of heroin.
Again, this was labelled a suicide, although she was in fact doing exactly the same as Kurt. That is, planning for her future, and escaping from Courtney. To me there seems to be far more to this than mere coincidence.
Did Kurt Cobain really commit suicide, or is his killer still out there?
On 8th April 1994, Nirvana's front man Kurt Cobain was found dead in the "greenhouse", (the room above the garage) at his home in Seattle Washington, from an apparently self inflicted shotgun wound to his head. This was quickly dismissed as suicide, however there is far more to this than meets the eye.
In addition to the shot that killed him, there was also the fact that there was a massive dose of heroin/ morphine in his system. In fact there was three times the lethal amount. Experts have stated that this amount would probably have incapacitated him in seconds, and killed him in a matter of minutes.
However, due to the fact that his sleeves had been rolled back down, and all of the drug paraphernalia had been tidied away, I am left with a couple of important questions. Firstly, in the few seconds Kurt had before the full effects of the heroin overwhelmed him, how would he have time to clear the evidence away and shoot himself? Also, even if you can assume he was suicidal, why would he feel the need to use both methods?
When you look a bit closer at this, there are many more inconsistencies. For example, the police report stated that the door of the greenhouse was barricaded from the inside. However, pictures of the scene have since disproved this. There were also no legible prints on the gun. The size of the shotgun has also brought up questions, as this was likely to have been too big for Kurt to be able to reach the trigger when turning it on himself. It would be more likely for Kurt to have used his toe to pull the trigger, although his shoes were on when he was found. Is this perhaps evidence of a second person in the room? Maybe even someone else could have pulled the trigger?
None of these questions have ever been answered by the Seattle police, or the coroner. There have for many years now been rumours that this was in fact murder, and many fingers have been pointed at Kurt Cobain's wife, Courtney Love. There have also been many calls for this case to be re-investigated. I believe that this should happen, as there doesn't seem to have been much investigating done at the time. If you look at the background to this case, hopefully you will support this too.
Background to the case
There are numerous reports that the Cobains had a turbulent marriage, which appeared to have become more so over the last few months of Kurt's life. Much of their problems seemed to revolve around money (Courtney wanted more but Kurt wasn't interested). One example of this was when Nirvana received an offer to headline the massive alternative music festival Lollapalooza, which would have earned millions of dollars for the band. Kurt decided to turn this down. This led to huge arguments with Courtney, according to Dylan Carlson, friend (and drug dealer) to both Kurt and Courtney. She was said to have gone ballistic due to the amount of money they would lose.
The Rome Incident
Probably the most significant event leading up to Kurt's death happened in early March 1994. This has come to be known as "The Rome Incident". Kurt had been on tour leading up to this event, however he had been ill for some time, and decided that he needed to cancel the end of the tour. This would cost Nirvana hundreds of thousands of dollars although he was diagnosed with bronchitis and told to rest. He arranged to meet up with Courtney, his baby daughter Frances and their nanny Michael "Cali" Dewitt at a hotel in Rome. During their first night there, Kurt overdosed on his wife's rohypnol pills (which she had on prescription) combined with champagne. He only just survived.
Again, there are many inconsistencies with this event. Firstly, Kurt didn't drink, so why the champagne? He also didn't use rohypnol. If he wanted to take drugs, he would have simply taken heroin (which he had always managed to get hold of before) or something else he was familiar with. Also, Courtney has publicly stated that she awoke at 3 or 4 in the morning to find him unconscious, although the hotel has just as clearly stated that the call for an ambulance was logged at 6.30am. If both statements are true, why would she wait so long? Courtney has also stated that when she found him he had his coat on, there was a note written to her in one hand, and a bundle of cash in the other. Was he running away? Also, confirmed is that he had a bloody nose, with speculation that someone had pinched it to compel him to open his mouth so that the combination of alcohol/ pills could be forced down his throat. If this was the case, there could only be two suspects, Courtney Love and Michael "Cali" Dewitt.
Shortly before this, Kurt had been in contact with their lawyer, Rosemary Carroll. She has confirmed that he called her wanting to change his will, and had told her that he was seeking a divorce from Courtney, and also was considering giving up the music business. In fact, many sources have agreed this was the case. He was apparently making plans for the future, so isn't this a strange time to take an overdose? Also, from Courtney's point of view, she was about to lose millions of dollars if he left her. They already had a prenuptial agreement, so she wouldn't be entitled to any of his earnings, unless he died before completing the changes to his will. He didn't have the opportunity to do this before he died.
The overdose left him in a coma for over 20 hours, with rumours circulating that Kurt Cobain had died. When he awoke, he had no memory of what had happened to him, which is a common side effect of rohypnol (also known as the date rape drug). At the time this was described as an accidental overdose, although it was only after Kurt's death it became a suicide attempt, strengthening the argument that Kurt was suicidal.
The Final Few Weeks
After Kurt and Courtney had returned home, their relationship continued to decline. Police were called to their home by Courtney when she told them that Kurt had locked himself in the bathroom with a gun, and was suicidal. However, he had no gun when the police arrived and his story was simply that he was trying to stay away from her. He insisted that he had no intention to kill himself, although guns were seized from the house, along with his prescription medicine for his infamous "stomach problem".
Afterwards, Courtney arranged an "intervention" for Kurt, explaining that his drug use had got out of control. Invited to this were members of the band's management and record company. They threatened to drop Nirvana unless he went into rehab. Interestingly, many of the people at the intervention (including Courtney) were also drug users. At first Kurt was furious, although he later agreed to go when Courtney threatened to deny him access to his daughter.
Before leaving for rehab, Kurt went shopping with his friend Dylan Carlson, and bought a gun under Dylan's name. He told Dylan that he needed one for protection, as he feared intruders in his home. Kurt also told Dylan that if he bought one in his own name he believed the police would confiscate it.
Kurt only stayed in rehab for a couple of days, before absconding. Nobody knows what happened to him in these last few days of his life. Courtney called the police to report him missing, stating that she was his mother, and then hired a private detective by the name of Tom Grant to find him. She also cancelled his credit card leaving him with no access to any money. In the course of Tom Grant's investigation, he came across so many inconsistencies with Courtney's story, that even after Kurt's body was found he needed to continue investigating. In fact he still is today, in the hope that he can finally prove that Kurt Cobain was murdered.
The "Suicide" Note
Kurt Cobain's so called "suicide" note has also been questioned. There are no actual references to committing suicide in this note, apart from this being hinted at in the last few lines. There is much speculation that these few lines (below) were not in Kurt's handwriting, and were in fact written by someone else:
"Frances and Courtney, I'll be at your altar. Please keep going Courtney for Frances for her life which will be so much happier without me. I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU! "
These lines have been compared to the rest of the note by several handwriting experts, and although they can't be certain, there is still a strong posibility that this part was forged.
If the rest of the note was to be read (without the suspect ending), it appears to be merely a note Kurt has written to his fans, explaining his reasons for quitting the music business.
The couple's lawyer, Rosemary Carroll has expressed her concerns regarding this note to Tom Grant, the private detective hired by Courtney Love. She has also claimed that she found a backpack belonging to Courtney, containing a notebook with what looked like somebody practicing writing letters over and over again. She believed that Courtney was trying to copy Kurt's handwriting. She was also adamant that Kurt was not suicidal. However, she is not prepared to go on the record with these claims, presumably for fear of reprisals from Courtney Love.
Who was using Kurt's credit card?
When Kurt's body was discovered, one of his credit cards was missing.
While Kurt was missing, it transpired that someone had been trying to use the card on a number of occasions, despite it being cancelled by Courtney. Apparently this was an attempt to prevent him having any access to money and force him to return home.
Suspiciously, the credit card had also been used after the time that Kurt died (it has been estimated that he was dead by around the 4th or 5th of April), although this stopped once his body was found on the 8th April.
A Hired Killer?
After Kurt's death Eldon Hoke (El Duce) came forward, stating publicly that Courtney Love tried to hire him to kill her husband. He said that she approached him as far back as Christmas time 1993, but he refused. El Duce spoke about this on the BBC documentary "Kurt and Courtney", and also took a lie detector test, which he passed.
However, just days after being filmed for the documentary he was hit by a train and killed. To this date, nobody really knows how he came to be on the railway line in the first place. Did he fall or was he pushed, and if so, by who?
Was somebody trying to stop El Duce from talking anymore? Also, could the same person be responsible for both the deaths of El Duce and Kurt Cobain?
El Duce Polygraph
So, to summarise, here are some important questions to consider:
1 Why would Kurt take a lethal dose of heroin (assuming he knew it was lethal) and then shoot himself?
2 How could he manage to do this and tidy up before the heroin took effect?
3 If Kurt was planning to cut Courtney out of his will and divorce her, why commit suicide at all?
4 What really happened in Rome?
5 Was El Duce really telling the truth, and what really happened to him?
I have only scratched the surface of this case, as there are so many different stories to tell, and so many more things that don't quite make sense. I believe that Tom Grant was right, and that somewhere there is proof to substantiate this conclusion. If you want to learn more, I recommend you check out the following sources that I have used researching this case.
Books by Max Wallace and Ian Halperin: "Who Killed Kurt Cobain"
"Love and Death"
You might also be interested in the BBC documentary "Kurt and Courtney"
Other sites for further information
- Index outline page to cobaincase.com - The Kurt Cobain Murder Investigation by Tom Grant
Investigation into the events surrounding the death of musician Kurt Cobain.
- Case Study Manual - The Kurt Cobain Murder Investigation by Tom Grant
Investigation into the events surrounding the death of musician Kurt Cobain.
- Justice for Kurt
Another great site packed with lots more information on the case.
Video of Court TV examining the case on the 10th Anniversary of Kurt's Death
Sound off! What do you think really happened?
I strongly believe that Kurt Cobain was murdered, and that his wife Courtney Love was involved. I also believe she and their nanny first tried to kill him a month earlier in Rome (which failed) and that she was determined to finish the job before he could cut her out of his will and divorce her.
Was this suicide or murder?