Detective Berdin is retired and detectives Morris and King were in charge of Elliott Smith’s case back in 2010. After a lot of procrastination, I called Morris for the first time in 2010.
I had imagined the situation before, and I had thought, that, after so many years, they would probably not know right away whom I was talking about. I was completely wrong, they immediately knew. Morris was very guarded at first, repeatedly saying he could not talk about the case because it was an open case and not a cold case. After almost 7 years and, as it seems, no progress at all, you have to wonder what is the definition of an open case exactly. His tone was not very engaging at first, but I did not want to stop there and continued trying. He asked me who I was and if I was related to the victim, which I’m not.
So I began talking about what I know and his tone changed a bit with a ‘oh so you are not a person who is just looking for info but someone who has info.’ I was not sure about that, he was after all the detective, how could he learn something from me??
When I started to discuss about a few things, he was interested, at least he seemed to be. And when talking, it was very tempting to jump from the narrative to the interrogative form, like, ‘I know this but I have noticed that, so is it possible that…’ and each time he was coming back to his less friendly mood, interrupting me and saying I was trying to make him say things he could not reveal. But I told him I was just trying to point out some weird findings.
When I was talking about the possible forensic evidence from the scene (or rather lack of, but I did not formulate it that way, I did not want to accuse the police to have been responsible of a messed up investigation) he ended up saying I was perspicacious and my points were relevant to the situation,… he became suddenly curious about what I was doing for living?
During the conversation, I used a few times the word suicide because I was referencing some articles, and two times he said ‘Don’t believe everything you read’ some words that I am tempted to interpret like a sort of confession. At one point, he even threw in a ‘But you know we are not considering this case as a suicide.’ I don’t know if he realized he had said too much at this time, but there was a silence after that and I tried to make him repeat this but again he went back to his first tone, may be a little bit annoyed by what he had just said.
I finally learnt two things, there are other reports beside the autopsy report (but I don’t know what they are about) and a little more info has been released to the family although they are still not able to see the suicide note or the knife, and I wonder why. So there are still many things we don’t know.
Originally published on Rock NYC (April 14 2010)