Courtney Love and the Seattle cops

By WND Staff

Courtney Love is one of America’s most controversial celebrities — famous for her hard rock music, hard drug use and the many accusations of foul play that surround the alleged suicide of her late husband, Kurt Cobain, five years ago this month. But most people do not know about Courtney Love’s long and special relationship with Seattle law enforcement; a relationship that, according to a WorldNetDaily investigation, compromised the investigation into her husband’s death, and perhaps ruined any chance of ever knowing what really happened to Kurt Cobain.

The games of love

On May 2, 1993, Courtney Love dialed 911 after Kurt Cobain overdosed on heroin. The Seattle police and fire departments arrived at the Cobain residence and discovered that Cobain had “injected himself with $30-$40 worth of heroin.” Curiously, the police report contains an entire paragraph that has been blacked out. Normally, certain incidental information such as names, addresses and phone numbers are redacted from reports to maintain privacy, but the paragraph in question describes Love’s “attempt” to “save her husband’s life.” Tom Grant, Love’s former private investigator, was successful in uncovering the redacted information.

The information in question describes how Love forcibly administered Buprenorphine, Valium and Tylenol laced with Codeine to “save her husband’s life.” This lethal combination of drugs surely aggravated Cobain’s condition and could easily have killed him and yet the Seattle police did not investigate Courtney Love for possessing illegal drugs or for spoon-feeding them to a man who had already overdosed. In fact, they deliberately concealed her criminal actions from the police report released to the public. Why the special treatment for Courtney Love?

On March 18, 1994, the Seattle PD responded to a 911 call at the Cobain residence. The official report recounts Love’s claim that Cobain had locked himself in a room with a gun, and had threatened to kill himself, though Love’s name is blacked out of the report, while Cobain’s is intact. Once again, more special treatment for Courtney Love, though none for Kurt Cobain.

The March 18 report also describes how Cobain calmly cooperated with the investigators and insisted he was not going to hurt himself, but only locked himself in a room because he wanted to get away from his wife. Love then admitted to the police that she never actually saw Cobain with a gun and that he never said he was going to kill himself. Nevertheless, the report says that Courtney Love dialed 911, “for his safety… knowing he had access to guns.”

On April 4, 1994, Courtney Love called the Seattle police early in the morning from Los Angeles to report Kurt Cobain as a missing person and yet for some reason Love falsely portrayed herself as Cobain’s mother, Wendy O’Connor, who lives near Seattle. Why did Love feel the need to hide her identity, unless perhaps she was hiding her motives?

The police report says that “Mr. Cobain ran away from California facility and flew back to Seattle… bought a shotgun and may be suicidal. Det. Terry SPD/Narcotics has further info.” This suggests that Cobain purchased a shotgun on that very day with the intention of killing himself, when in fact he acquired the gun before he admitted himself into drug rehabilitation on March 30. Also, Courtney Love told the police that Cobain had flown to Seattle, when she had told Tom Grant the day before that she had no idea where he might go.

More importantly, why does the 911 report cite narcotics Detective Antonio Terry as a source? Tom Grant says that Love considered Terry a good friend. If Love got angry and wanted one of her drug buddies arrested, she would call Terry and ask him to bust them. In the days prior to the discovery of Cobain’s body, Love called Detective Terry from Tom Grant’s cellular phone in Los Angeles. This information makes it difficult to deny a relationship between at least one Seattle policeman and Courtney Love. Moreover, it suggests that Detective Terry was willing to abet Love’s machinations, even when she lied to the Seattle police by impersonating Cobain’s mother.

In the aggregate, the police reports clearly illustrate how Courtney Love successfully manipulated the Seattle police. By the time the Seattle PD investigated his death on April 8, they were already convinced Cobain committed suicide. One Seattle policeman told Ian Halperin and Max Wallace, authors of “Who Killed Kurt Cobain?” that when Sergeant Donald Cameron ordered the homicide unit to investigate Cobain’s death, he told them that the investigation was just “for show” and not to be too thorough. Apparently, they followed orders.

The Crime Scene

Officer Van Levandowski arrived at the crime scene first. In his report, Levandowski says that he photographed the crime scene using a Polaroid camera, while two other officers used 35mm cameras to do the same. Levandowski describes discovering the “suicide note … apparently written by Cobain to his wife and daughter, explaining why he had killed himself”, but Levandowski reached this conclusion prior to any actual investigation and only four and a half-hours after the body was discovered.

Levandowski also says that “the victim was AWOL from a drug treatment center in Los Angeles and that his family had filed a missing persons report with the SPD. The families fear was that the victim was suicidal and he had recently bought a shotgun.” Another crime scene report by detectives Jim Yoshida and Steve Kirkland includes the line, “This is a suicide note directed to Courtney and (deleted) and signed Kurt Cobain (sic.)”

But if you think Courtney Love had good friends in the Seattle Police Department, she had even better friends in the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Examining the Evidence

King County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Nikolas Hartshorne was an old friend of Courtney Love and her ex-husband, James Moreland. During the late ’80s, Hartshorne was in the business of promoting punk rock groups and happened to book Nirvana at the Central Tavern in Seattle in 1988. Nirvana eventually became the opening band for Leaving Trains, which was headed by Moreland.

Dr. Hartshorne conducted the initial examination of Cobain’s body at the crime scene. He photographed the body, examined the shotgun wound, and emptied the contents of Cobain’s pockets. Hartshorne noted that the body was at room temperature and was in the first stages of putrefaction, suggesting that Cobain had been dead for some time. Dr. Hartshorne labeled the cause of death a “self-inflicted shotgun wound” after examining the body for only a few minutes and was soon telling reporters, “I’ve never seen a more open-and-shut case of suicide.”

However, normally a self-inflicted 12-gauge shotgun wound inflicts massive blood, skull and tissue loss, but the electrician who discovered the body said only that Cobain only had some “blood in his right ear.” and officers on the scene instantly recognized Cobain’s famous face, which was perfectly intact.

Initially, the Seattle Post-Intelligence reported that Cobain “was shot once in the left temple.” But in a nationally televised photo that shows the rear right shoulder of Cobain’s body, not one drop of blood can be seen on Cobain’s white shirt or on the floor around him. If Cobain was shot in the left temple or anywhere else on his head, the right side of his body should have been covered with blood.

Despite these inconsistencies, Dr. Hartshorne, issued a death certificate citing as cause of death a “perforating gunshot wound to the head (mouth).” If this is true, all the blood must have exited from the left side of his body. More importantly, this specious death certificate allowed Courtney Love to cremate Cobain’s body only one week after it was discovered, thus permanently destroying the most important piece of evidence in the investigation.

In response to media incredulity over the mystery wound, in June 1994 the medical examiner’s office modified its verdict by saying that there actually was “no exit wound” and that “all of the shot stayed inside the skull.” Dr. Hartshorne and his colleague Dr. Donald Reay then released a remarkable document that says Cobain suffered both a “contact penetrating shotgun wound to the head” and a “contact perforating shotgun wound to the head.” But a “penetrating” wound is one where the bullet enters, but does not exit the body. A “perforating” wound is one where the bullet both enters and exits the body. Why couldn’t they make up their minds?

To make matters even more complicated, the autopsy revealed that Cobain had three times the lethal dosage of heroin in his system (1.52 mg/l) when he died. Such a high dosage would kill or incapacitate anyone within seconds. But the 115-pound Kurt Cobain somehow managed to inject himself with a triple deadly dose of heroin; then neatly put away his drug kit before inserting a shotgun into his mouth and pulling the trigger. Furthermore, not only was there no exit wound, there weren’t even any fingerprints on the shotgun.

In an interview with Halperin and Wallace, Dr. Hartshorne acknowledged his friendship with Courtney Love, though he denied any conflict of interest. When they asked him if some kind of forensic test had been performed on Cobain’s body to determine if he had fired a gun prior to his death, Hartshorne said that “that test isn’t always reliable” and cited a state law that prevents him from releasing of autopsy results. Shortly after this interview was made public, Dr. Hartshorne left his job at the medical examiner’s office and began work as a medical examiner in a small Florida town.

Covering Up for Love?

When the Seattle police finally inspected Cobain’s wallet, five days after the body was discovered, they did not find the Sea First Visa card that Love canceled a few days before the body was found. Cobain used this credit card to purchase two airline tickets just before his death, but someone else tried to use Cobain’s card at least twice after his death. Obviously, this person must have been with Cobain just prior to his death, and might have been the last person to see him alive. But the Seattle police made no effort to identify this individual.

In response to media interest in the mysterious credit card user, Seattle police spokesman Sean O’Donnell said that the “the information we’ve been able to receive from the bank has only been able to identify for us when the information was logged onto their mainframe computer and not specifically when the attempt was made and who it was made by.” But when Tom Grant contacted the credit card company, they told him that such information appears on their computer only a few minutes after a transaction. This suggests the Seattle PD never investigated the missing credit card and deliberately misled the public about its investigation.

In reality, the Seattle police have misled the public from the beginning. Halperin and Wallace’s confidential source in the Seattle PD said that Sergeant “Cameron will never admit he made a mistake; he is very concerned about his reputation…. I don’t necessarily think the death was a murder, but there are too many inconsistencies to just call it a suicide.”

These inconsistencies might be cleared up if the Seattle police would publicly open the case file or actually develop the photos taken of the Cobain crime scene. As Sergeant Cameron said to Tom Grant, “We haven’t developed the photographs and probably never will. We don’t develop photographs on suicides.”

Courtney Love told Tom Grant about a conversation she had with Sergeant Cameron regarding a suspicious “suicide note” Kurt Cobain allegedly wrote from Rome, Italy a month before his death. “This will never do you any good,” Cameron told Love. “I’d get rid of this if I were you.” If true, this would not be the only time Donald Cameron obstructed justice. Sergeant Cameron is now on administrative leave for concealing evidence in another, unrelated case.

Love Conquers All

Within months of Kurt Cobain’s death, Detective Antonio Terry was killed in a strange shooting incident, the first Seattle police officer killed on duty in nine years. Terry was soon followed by Courtney Love’s guitarist, Kristen Pfaff, who died of a bizarre heroin overdose the day before she was planning to move out of town. While it is open to speculation why these and other people close to Courtney Love have a habit of dying mysterious deaths, one thing is for sure, as long as she stays in Seattle, Courtney Love will always remain above suspicion.


For more information on this controversy, see journalist Andrew Amirault’s web page.