Recently released photos, previously undeveloped, from the crime scene of Kurt Cobain’s suicide are at the center of a new lawsuit against the Seattle Police Department. The man behind the lawsuit is independent journalist, and multiple Seattle mayoral candidate, Richard Lee, who is known for being the first to claim that Cobain’s suicide wasn’t a suicide and that the troubled singer was instead murdered.
According to seattlepi.com, Lee is suing the Seattle Police Department for not releasing the then-undeveloped photos when he first requested all records related to Cobain’s death not long after the singer’s body was found on April 8th, 1994. Lee is also requesting a trial on “broad issues” related to police disclosures concerning the Cobain case.
In the early 90s, Richard Lee had a weekly public affairs show on the Seattle public access channel called Now See It Person To Person. After Cobain’s death, the name of the show was first changed to Now See It Person To Person: Was Kurt Cobain Murdered? and then to Now See It Person To Person: Kurt Cobain Was Murdered. Outside a few involuntary hiatuses (the most recent was a 5 year hiatus that ended in May of 2013), the show has continued to air weekly and investigate Kurt Cobain’s death, as well as report on public affairs in the Seattle area. More information about Lee’s show and many websites can be found at his main website.
The two dozen photos that sparked the lawsuit were released in March, drawing quite a bit of attention from Nirvana fans because of the proximity to the 20th anniversary of Cobain’s death. Detective Mike Ciesynski, the cold case detective who found the undeveloped rolls of film while reviewing the Cobain case, didn’t think the photos revealed anything older photos hadn’t already revealed, saying:
“Sometimes people believe what they read… some of the disinformation from some of the books, that this was a conspiracy. That’s completely inaccurate. It’s a suicide. This is a closed case.”
Writing about Cobain’s death for SPIN in 1994, Gina Arnold noted how the singer’s status as “the spokesman of a generation” may have blinded fans, and even family and friends, to signs of impending tragedy:
Because in the thought-free frenzy for angles, scandals, scoops, the real story about Cobain has been criminally misplaced. The fact, for example, that Cobain was clinically depressed — a fact that is self-evident from his actions, and a condition that ran in his family (two of his uncles also committed suicide) — has been overlooked in favor of stories about his symbolic importance; his cultural placement alongside John Lennon; his life as a cliché. The questions of how long he had been depressed — it seems like every song he wrote on Nevermind and In Utero gave clues to his state of mind — and what steps had been taken to help him, are almost pointless now. His life is over, and we can’t have him back.
In February, Kurt Cobain’s hometown of Aberdeen, Washington held its first Kurt Cobain Day on the singer’s birthday.