Police Investigating Whether Murder Victim Tried to Kill Himself Before His Death

When Joshua Stattman approached police standing around the body of Michael Kniezewski—found in a loading dock at 9th and Virginia last year—he admitted he had killed Kniezewski.

Prosecutors have since charged Stattman with Kniezewski’s murder, but Stattman has claimed that he was simply assisting in Kniezewski’s suicide.

Now, police are looking into whether Kniezewski attempted to kill himself just one month before his death.

Earlier this month, an SPD homicide detective filed a search warrant for medical records from Harborview Medical Center, after an acquaintance of Kniezewski’s told police he had spoken with Kniezewski about bandages on his wrist, and Kniezewski had told them man he had tried to kill himself one month before his death.

The morning of September 13th, police found Kniezewski’s body between two dumpsters on a loading dock behind a business at 9th and Virginia. Kniezewski had been strangled.

Several hours after later, court records say Joshua Stattman, 32, approached officers at the scene and told them he was drinking beers with Kniezewski as they sat in the doorway of the Urban Rest Stop shelter several blocks away, when Kniezewski told Stattman he was depressed and wanted to kill himself.

Stattman told police Kniezewski wanted to die, and had asked for help killing himself.

Kniezewski even tied the knot in the nylon strap Stattman later used to kill him, according to police records.

Kniezewski and Stattman walked to a loading dock behind a business at 9th and Virginia, where Stattman allegedly wrapped the nylon strap around Kniezewski’s throat and held it tight for five minutes, until Kniezewski was dead.

Stattman then wished Kniezewski “Godspeed” and walked away, according to police warrant affidavit.

Stattman “had no moral qualms about what he had done [and] stated that the victim ‘was ready’ to end his life,” Detective Rolf Norton wrote in the affidavit.

Prosecutors say they are still going forward with their murder case against Stattman, and would not comment on whether evidence that Kniezewski had previously attempted suicide would have any effect on charges against Stattman.