Contradictions In Jennifer Chiba’s Testimony

Jennifer Chiba was very lucky Elliott had the past he had, very lucky…Her testimony and interviews have been filled with contradictions:

– Chiba lied about her involvement with Elliott (1999) in the lawsuit: […] began a romantic relationship with Chiba during the summer of 1999…”

But in the police report: “Jennifer stated she has known the decedent for four years and has been dating him for over one year.’ Was Elliott really involved with her in 1999?

– Chiba has been very inconsistent in her declarations. For example, she said to Larry Crane: ‘I hadn’t talked to Elliott in over a year. His girlfriend, Jennifer, called me [last week] and asked if I’d like to come to L.A. and help mix and finish [Smith’s album]. I said yes, of course, and chatted with Elliott for the first time in ages. It seems surreal that he would call me to finish an album and then a week later kill himself. I talked to Jennifer this morning, who was obviously shattered and in tears, and she said, ‘I don’t understand, he was so healthy.”

But when she talked to the police she said he had been suffered depression all his life, had been addicted, was an alcoholic and was engaged in self-mutilating behavior. She even gave some parts of his intimate journal to the police to support the suicide theory.

– Regarding the possible defensive wounds: In the Spin interview Robin Peringer (Chiba’s friend) and Chiba declared Elliott was cutting himself in September 2003, just a month before he died.

Robin Peringer: ‘He had three really tremendous knife wounds on his left arm. They were deep, like he had to go across a couple of times or have the sharpest, biggest knife to do it.’
 Jennifer Chiba: ‘I came home from seeing Lost in Translation and he was lying in the bed with his arm bleeding. He had seven old cigarette burns on his arm. It was evidence of his pain from that period that was just a little too real, so he’d taken a knife to it.’

But in October 2003, these tremendous cuts on his left arm do not seem to exist on the autopsy report. There is nothing on the autopsy report that shows any self harm from cutting.

In the spin interview, Robin Peringer describes Elliot under a very negative light, saying for example ‘Smith was a cutter’, and this could explain the ‘possible defensive wounds’. He also said: ‘There’d be days where he’d stay up four days straight. I’d be like, ‘What are you doing?’ And he’d be rambling this nonsense. I watched that movie A Beautiful Mind, and it reminded me of hanging out with Elliott. He believed these things were there and knew they weren’t necessarily real, but he couldn’t control his thoughts.’

But when he was at the wall with fans, just two days after Elliott dies, Robin said to one of the fans: ‘Elliott was very happy, always laughing, very upbeat, cracking jokes all the time. There was no sign whatsoever of anything like this happening.’

– She pulled the knife out and saw two cuts (according to the police report). It seems really weird she was able to see there were two cuts. It was through the clothes, and the blood was probably coming out heavily.

– According to Robin there was ‘blood throughout Elliott’s house after the suicide” (Filter magazine interview). If Elliott stabbed himself, why was there blood everywhere? You have to imagine that someone who just stabbed himself twice, falls down more or less at the same place. Or was he running away from someone?

 And there are even more contradictions based on hearsay:

– She told many different stories about what happened: was she locked in the bathroom as she said to the police? or was she taking a shower? or talking to her therapist on the phone as she said to other people?

– She said Elliott was sobbing and pounding on the door, but she ignored him until she heard the thud. But in the police report she said he was still standing with his back to her. So what thud did she hear?

– Chiba said that he had proposed to her a few days before his death. However, she told a friend of Elliott’s at the memorial service that Elliott was thinking of leaving her.

Originally published on Rock NYC (April 10 2010)

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