Elliott Smith's Mysterious Death And Its List Of Inconsistencies

Written by | December 9, 2014 0:07 am | 4 responses


Someone recently asked me about all the inconsistencies surrounding Elliott Smith’s case and I tried to make this list… I know that many of you have probably read some of this before, but since new people got interested by this sad story every day, it is always useful to go over all these points again in one post. Over the years, I have tried to gather as much information as possible, and noticed a lot of inconsistencies, but noted that they were due to two things: the inconsistencies about what happened at the scene and the inconsistencies dues to what Jennifer Chiba and others said afterward. I took the police report point by point and tried to exhaust all my ideas.

• Jennifer told the police that she locked herself in the bathroom during this argument and while she was in the bathroom, she heard the decedent scream

Was Elliott begging her to open or not? She certainly never mentioned this to the police but abundantly said it was the case in the Spin article, Reyes’ documentary and Schultz’s book. Plus, did she hear a thud or a scream? In the police report she mentions a scream, but she also said to Elliott’s family that she opened the door when she heard a thud. What thud could it have been since Elliott was still standing when she exited the bathroom? In the documentary ‘Searching for Elliott Smith’, she said that ‘she heard a terrible noise coming from the kitchen’. So was it a scream, a thud or a noise??

It was also reported that she took a shower in the bathroom (The Independent, Blogcritics) but it’s not on the police report either.

• While she came out of the bathroom she found the decedent standing with his back to her, when he turned around, Jennifer saw a knife sticking out of his chest with a knife in his chest. Jennifer pulled the knife out of the decedent’s chest and saw ‘two cuts’ on his chest.

The fact that she removed the knife was a big concern for the police (‘Additionally, the girlfriend’s reported removal of the knife and subsequent refusal to speak with detectives are all of concern’) but you have to add to this the fact that she has been a family therapist since 1995, and has worked with children at 5 acres (http://www.5acres.org) an organization which is taking care of children who have been removed from their families due to abuse and neglect. I contacted them and received this answer:

‘All of our direct care staff, including our therapists, is trained in CPR and First Aid.’

Why did she remove the knife so? The only explanation she had to offer when interviewed in the ‘Searching for Elliott Smith’ documentary was that she did not know (despite the training?) and wanted to help Elliott.

• The descendent walked away, Jennifer followed him to where he collapsed

Elliott was running away (from what?) and she even said several times (not in the police report) that she was afraid he would jump from the balcony. Why was he running away? Dr. Scheinin has insisted on the fact that someone can still walk with a stab wound, but this is not the point, why was Elliott walking so much?

• She called 911 immediately

She admitted to the source close to Elliott that the ambulance was delayed because her cell phone was not working. Was her phone really not working? And why didn’t she use the landline they had? Also, did she call someone else before calling 911 as this has been rumored?

• and performed citizen CPR and first aid with operator assistance until paramedics arrived

Performing CPR on someone with two open wounds in the heart sounds really crazy to me, wouldn’t this push more blood out of the body? I asked a professional about this and he told me this wasn’t making any sense, even if she was able to put some pressure on the wounds.

• Once the decedent was taken to the hospital, police officers arrived and questioned Jennifer about this incident

After performing CPR, Chiba must have been covered in blood. Musician Robin Peringer told Filter magazine in 2008 (Filter 02/01/2008) ‘the harrowing story of cleaning up the blood throughout Elliott’s house after the suicide’. Thus the police were questioning Chiba in the same room where blood was splattered all over? Does it sound a bit strange or is it normal procedure? Shouldn’t the police be busy examining blood spot patterns? Nothing is said about this in the police report, there is no description of the house, room, or even Chiba’s appearance.

• During this questioning, she was seated at the kitchen table and noted for the first time a ‘Post it’ note that appeared to be a suicide note left by the decedent

There are many weird things about this suicide note:

– She conveniently found it, not the police

– The message on it couldn’t have been more vague and impersonal (not even addressed to Chiba)

– Why writing a note to someone who is there, behind a door?

– It is difficult to reconcile the writing of a suicide note with such a violent act (stabbing yourself without being under the influence of anything)… did Elliott calm down for a few minutes, wrote the note, then resumed with the rage and stabbed himself? It’s really hard to believe.

Furthermore, Chiba said to W. T. Schultz that she ‘had been in the habit of sticking Post-Its around the house, each with little encouraging message’… would Elliott have used the same method, the same medium to write a suicide note?

And then, there is everything she said afterwards Elliott’s death

• The small cuts

Elliott had cuts on his palms and right arm (‘A small slight lacerations is noted to the palm of the left and right hand and another slight laceration is noted under the upper right arm as well’). Dr. Scheinin said the small cuts could be interpreted as defensive wounds or due to a possible mishandling of the knife.

Still, Chiba worked very hard with the help of Liam Gowing and Gil Reyes to suggest these cuts were due to self-cutting, something totally untrue, as Dr. Scheinin told me they were not compatible with self-mutilation. In the Gil Reyes documentary, Steve Hanft even suggested that Elliott was wearing leather bracelets to cover ‘something’ on his wrists. But when I talked to Dr Scheinin, she was very clear: Elliott’s wrists were totally intact and scar free. These people are obviously lying!

When I met him at Schultz’s book signing, Gil Reyes even gave me another crazy explanation to justify these small cuts, he said that Elliott could have cut himself while bumping against the balcony. How many stories can they come up with?

• The proposal, the marriage, or the break-up?

This paragraph was published in Spin magazine:

‘On October 12, Chiba accompanied Smith to New Monkey Studio, where he laid down lead vocals to one of From A Basement’s unfinished tracks, ‘King’s Crossing,’ a song whose lyrics build to the precipitous line ‘Give me one good reason not to do it!’ At live performances, Ashley Welch and Chiba had gotten into the habit of shouting “Because we love you” from offstage. After recording his own words, Smith invited Chiba to add her vocal. After she recorded the line “Because I love you,” Smith turned to her and said, ‘Let’s get married’.’

However, in the ‘Searching for Elliott Smith’ documentary, during the Q&A following the screening, and in Schultz’s book, Chiba never alluded to anything related to marriage or starting a family. Furthermore, she didn’t even mention it in the lawsuit she attempted against the estate!

There are also some rumors that Elliott wanted to leave her, allegedly, at the memorial service, Jennifer Chiba confessed to a friend of Elliott that on the morning he died, Elliott had told her he wanted to leave her.

I have to add that I talked to someone who knew Chiba very well, and she told me that, during a conversation she had with her a few months before Elliott died, Chiba admitted she didn’t know what to do to keep Elliott with her.

• Chiba’s involvement with Elliott since 1999?

One thing is sure there are many inconsistencies about her story: In the lawsuit, she said she was romantically involved with Elliott since 1999, whereas in the Spin article, they were ‘just friends’ at this time, and in the police report she said she had been dating him for over one year… She even gave several versions about her first meeting with Elliott.

• Elliott’s real state of mind

At the Q&A after Gil Reyes’ documentary screening, Chiba said that, when Elliott was ‘into the drugs’, ‘he was flaky and isolated’, and she was doing all she could ‘to keep him social, … being a therapist’. Suddenly she remembered she was a therapist? She described him as someone paranoid and ‘suffering from a serious mental illness’. However, she said to Larry Crane when he talked to her on the phone just after Elliott’s death, ‘I don’t understand, he was so healthy.’

Robin Peringer himself told someone he met at the memorial wall two days after Elliott’s death ‘that Elliott was very happy, always laughing, very upbeat, cracking jokes all of the time’, that ‘there was no sign, whatsoever of anything like this happening.’… ‘two days before it happened they were sitting on Elliott’s porch talking about growing a garden, making plans for the records’… However, he gave a totally opposite account to Liam Gowing for his Spin article: ‘his relationship with his stepfather ‘was all he fucking talked about’, even describing a paranoid Elliott afraid of white vans and cutting himself.

• Going cold turkey?

There are a lot of contradictory statements about Elliott’s drug regimen, in the Spin article, we were told that ‘In mid-September, the effects of going cold turkey were apparent’ whereas the autopsy revealed he had in fact a therapeutic dose of antidepressants and medication for attention deficit disorder at the time of his death.

The list of inconsistencies goes on and on, I am sure I could also talk about Chiba’s lack of guilt even though they were fighting just before he died, totally illustrated by her visit to the studio the following night and her desire to leave Los Angeles so quickly after Elliott’s death.


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