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25 Years Since Cobaine Suicide – Murder Was the Case Podcast


It’s been twenty-five years since the call came into the Seattle PD Homicide office of a suicide in the Denny Blaine area of Seattle on the shores of Lake Washington.  The decedent was Kurt Cobain.  No one in the office, (including me) had any idea who Cobain was, but several detectives a sergeant and two lieutenants left the office for the scene.  I didn’t go, but I became involved in the controversy over the years.

My friend Lee Mellor, criminologist and podcaster of Murder was the Case Podcast sat down with my old partner Mike Ciesynski and I a couple weeks ago to discuss the suicide on the twenty-fifth anniversary.  You can listen to the podcast here.

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Twisted Podcast Interview


I was recently interviewed by Twisted Podcast.  You can listen to the episode below.



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Column for Forensic Magazine

I’ll be writing a quarterly column for Forensic Magazine, (available online or in print) starting in late Spring.

My columns will look at forensic science from the perspective of a detective.  Hopefully I’ll put forth some interesting topics.

Look for it.







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Ted Bundy Interview

ABC’s 20/20 ran a special about Ted Bundy recently.  There is renewed fascination with this case because of the recent thirty-year anniversary of his execution.

KOMO-TV, the local ABC affiliate, ran a story after the 20/20 episode in which I was interviewed.

Bundy was a local boy, and committed many of his early murders in the Seattle area and other parts of Washington State, though he was never charged with any of them.

You can watch the interview here.

I’m also involved with a six part documentary series, “Theodore” that will air sometime in the fall.  Follow that project on their Facebook page, “Theodore, the Documentary.”

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Kurt Cobain Commited Suicide

I didn’t go to the scene when Kurt Cobain killed himself.

I was in the office when the call came in.  Nobody who was going on the call knew who Kurt Cobain was, but he was a rock star, so they responded to the scene as they would a homicide.

Who knew what a cluster it would become.

Over the years, I became involved in the case a little bit.  I’ve seen the evidence and photographs, spoken to the Chief Medical Examiner about the case and gone over details very closely.

It was an obvious suicide.  Not even a close call.

Recently I was interviewed by Gary James of about Cobain’s death.

You can read that interview here.

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Washington’s Most Notable Manhunts

The Seattle Post Intelligencer ran a feature this morning, (November 20) about the biggest manhunts in Washington.

As I went through the cases, I realized that I had either been the lead detective, or worked on about eight of them.

My photo, (though a silhouette) is in the story of Maurice Clemmons, the murderer of four Lakewood, WA. police officers, himself killed by a Seattle Police officer.  I’m on the left in the photo.

The feature can be found here.

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The Passing of a Legend

I learned the sad news this morning: Dr. Donald Reay, (or Doc Reay, or just Don; they were all fine with him), legendary Chief Medical Examiner in King County passed away last night.
Reay was a nationally recognized Forensic Pathologist, but just a regular guy at the same time. Teaching those who wanted to learn about death, (like me) was something he loved to do. He was a legend in his own time, and I owe a lot of what I know to him.

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Officer Timothy Brenton, EOW: 10/31/09

It was nine years ago tonight.  I received a call that no Homicide detective ever wants to receive.  A Seattle Police Officer was ambushed and killed.

I responded to that call knowing two of my sons were working as Seattle Police officers that night.

I didn’t know Tim Brenton, though I knew his dad, a retired Seattle Police Officer.

The next week saw 18 to 20 hour workdays.

On Friday, November 6, during Tim’s funeral, the case broke.  The suspect, Christopher Monfort, was identified and located at his Tukwila, WA. apartment.

Detectives from my unit responded.  Monfort came out and tried to murder a detective sergeant.  Shots were fired, and Monfort went down.

He survived, but was a paraplegic.

The next five years were spent preparing for a trial that would last eight months.  Monfort was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

He committed suicide in prison.

Here is a YouTube video about that night.

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