Friday, November 9, 2007

Note on Monika Danneman and the Death of Jimi Hendrix

dOn 6/23/07, Alan wrote:

> Thanks for the mention of my work in your piece. But what you don't say is
> that I exposed Monika Danneman as being complicit in Jimi's murder, and
> within a week of reading my screenplay she killed herself.

In the Covert War Against Rock, I quoted selected statements by Monika Danneman about the death of Hendrix, and though I struggled with her testimony, sorted through a slue of inconsistencies, filtered out a few statements that conformed with the statements of at least two others close to Hendrix.

This was not intended as an endorsement of every statement Danneman made to police, and perhaps I should have explained why she appeared in the book at all. A few of her statements hold up, and her remarks about intelligence officer/manager Michael Jeffrey, my key suspect, were verified via cross-reference with statements made by a dozen or so others in Jimi's entourage.

She MAY have had some role in Jimi's death, I can't say, doubt it, but possibly. Suicide - if it was that - doesn't necessarily constitute guilt. You are practicing mind reading if you say categorically that guilt drove her to it. What if your screenplay falsely accused her - an extremely sensitive, haunted woman, an artist - and she took her own life because you were destroying her reputation with it, had tied her erroneouly to murder of a man she revered? Has this occurred to you? Your screenplay may have driven an innocent woman to her death, and I am not really impressed with your methods. You told her there would be a movie, that the world would see her on the screen taking part in the murder of Jimi Hendrix ...

Her statements regarding lead suspect and CONFESSED KILLER OF HENDRIX (as explained in Covert War) MICHAEL JEFFREY were consistent with those of a dozen other witnesses, so I included Monika in the book. If there was no confirmation for those specific quotes, I wouldn't have used them because so many of her statements do not hold up, including her timeline. I did not dwell on this however because my interest was only in the true statements - dismissed by most biographers because they didn't contextualize - and this has led some to conclude that I consider her a reliable source in general. This isn't so. She was correct about more details than most biographers know - but wrong about critical details of the night Hendrix died, including the skewed timeline that drives some writers to openly accuse her. But you jump to conclusions. Perhaps her watch was broken - did you consider that? Sometimes there are simple explanations and you have to consider them.

What apart from the timeline and a few false statements - made by most eye-witnesses, if you check academic studies - lead you to accuse her?

Do you have corroborative evidence? A CONFESSION to a trusted friend, AS WAS THE CASE WITH JEFFREY? Mafia ties? The case with Jeffrey. Background in an unspecified intelligence agency (according to his parents), probably MI6? The case of Jeffrey. Did she have Hendrix kidnapped by Mafia thugs demanding ransom, and held until a staged rescue, arranged by his manager to ingratiate the rock star, according to Hendrix, freed the hostage? The case with Jeffrey. Did she have a motive, having stolen thousands if not millions from Jimi, who initiated legal proceedings but died before reaching the courtroom? The case with Jeffrey. Did she act guilty? On and on ... it all comes back to Hendrix's shifty manager.

He confessed, and several of Hendrix's associates have noted that Jeffrey expressed remorse. And you point the finger at Danneman? Whaddayagot? Some inconsistencies you found in statements made while she was in a state of trauma. And she isn't around to explain ... conveniently (couldn't resist saying it) ... .

It's possible that she was understandably shaken and confused after the terminal night, but I don't rule out complicity completely, if you think there is a case to be made. (I'm listening. So let's hear it.) We're still trying to piece it together. It isn't a closed case by any means, despite your evident certainty.

Possibly both explanations are true, but if so, how to account for the cause of death - DROWNING. Hendrix drowned in red wine. It was forced down his throat. Was Danneman complicit in THAT? Case open ...

For more, see The Hendrix chapter from The Covert War Against Rock.

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