Judge dismisses lawsuit seeking Kurt Cobain's death-scene photos

Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:29pm EDT
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By Eric M. Johnson

SEATTLE (Reuters) - A Washington state judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit seeking photos from the death scene of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain because the journalist who wants them violated legal procedures, Seattle's attorney said.

Independent journalist Richard Lee sued the city and its police department to try to force the release of the pictures taken by law-enforcement officials after Cobain killed himself in 1994, a spokesman for Seattle attorney Pete Holmes said.

The photos show his entire body and the damage to his head from a shotgun blast, according to a declaration filed last week by Cobain's wife, the musician Courtney Love, seeking to block the release.

Superior Court Judge Theresa Doyle sided with the city after a roughly 40-minute hearing, ruling Lee violated legal procedures by failing to properly serve the city with his lawsuit, said the spokesman, John Schochet.

Lee also filed his lawsuit before the city responded to his public-records request for the images, Schochet said.

Cobain, who rose to fame in 1991 leading Nirvana and popularized the grunge rock movement, was 27 when he shot himself with a shotgun at his Seattle home on April 5, 1994. His body was not found for three days.

Last year police said they found rolls of undeveloped film while preparing for renewed media attention ahead of the 20th anniversary of Cobain's suicide.

Lee, who could not be reached for comment on Friday, has produced a public-access television show called "Kurt Cobain Was Murdered," according to a website cataloging the show.   Continued...

File photo of Kurt Cobain, lead singer for the 'grunge' rock group Nirvana performing during a September 1992 performance at the MTV Music Awards show in Los Angeles. REUTERS/Lee Celano