Ronni Chasen’s Murderer - Harold Smith? Jan 20, 2021 16:46:55 GMT -6
Post by elantric on Jan 20, 2021 16:46:55 GMT -6
BEVERLY HILLS (AP)— An ex-con acted alone in gunning down Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen during a botched robbery, ending speculation that he may have conspired with someone to kill her, police said.
Police Chief David Snowden told The Associated Press that Harold Martin Smith, a career criminal, killed Chasen last November as she attempted to make a turn at an intersection.
Snowden said the case was solved, although it will be a couple of more weeks before it is formally closed.
Chasen, 64, was shot multiple times in the chest as she drove her Mercedes-Benz through Beverly Hills after the premiere of the movie “Burlesque.”
Snowden added Thursday there was no conspiracy to kill Chasen."
(typical LAPD coverup - see video below)
"Speculation about possible motives bubbled after the killing and ranged from road rage to a gang initiation killing.
The popular theory whispered around Hollywood was that Chasen was targeted by a hit man, but a tip to the show “America’s Most Wanted” led detectives to Smith.
Smith, 43, killed himself when police arrived to a Hollywood apartment building to question him.
Chasen was an influential behind-the-scenes player in Hollywood with a long track record in promoting films such as “Driving Miss Daisy,” “On Golden Pond” and the sequel to “Wall Street” and their stars for Oscars.
Snowden’s comments came after he first spoke to the Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday and said a final ballistics report showed Smith fatally shot Chasen.
Police believe Smith, who had a rap sheet dating back at least 25 years, rode a bicycle and tried to rob Chasen. Nothing was stolen from Chasen, most likely because she tried to get away as she was being shot.
Investigators have portrayed Smith as a desperate man with little going for him at the time of the shooting. Smith told neighbors at the apartment building where he shot himself that he would never return to prison.
Court documents show Smith was a double felon who had been convicted twice of burglary and most recently had been released from prison in 2007 after serving time for robbery.
Several residents of Whittier Dr. in Beverly Hills, where Chasen crashed after being shot seconds earlier at the nearby corner of Sunset Blvd., reached out to police, yet the released documents indicate that a thorough, proactive check of other immediate neighbors didn’t take place. And only token surveillance footage was pulled from a handful of business and residential security cameras, none of which showed Smith in the area.
The thrust of the BHPD’s probe centered on fleshing out Smith’s potential motive. The department determined he’d been obsessed with finally collecting on a $15,000 settlement from a hit-and-run accident Smith was involved in while bicycling near his dingy apartment building the previous spring, and he’d been left “desperate” for additional money after being disappointed by its ultimate payout — following medical and legal fees, just exceeding $5,000.
The department, which notes in its materials that Smith had been arrested multiple times for burglary (including a conviction for purse-snatching in 1998 involving a woman outside her Beverly Hills apartment on Doheny Drive), compiled multiple reports of individuals who knew him. They claimed he’d made comments to them in the days following the murder that included “I messed up” and “Have the cops been around?”
Still, regardless of the circumstantial case the BHPD was assembling (Smith had sought and obtained a gun in the preceding months, and the department had received calls after the murder about a suspicious African-American male lurking in the vicinity that night — including one from a 42West publicist describing a “creepy looking” man
In December 2010, the BHPD held a press conference at which they announced "the firearm that was used to commit suicide in Harold Martin Smith was the same firearm that was used to kill Ronni Chasen" and that they believed Smith had acted alone. Reporters expressed doubt that it was possible that "an ex-convict with a record for robbery whose mode of transport was known to be a bicycle" could have acted alone in this situation and asked several questions regarding motive and methods that went unanswered. The department closed the case the following July.
The Hollywood Reporter later reviewed the case files when they became available. After consulting with experts, reporters found no definite ballistics match, only an inconclusive report that states the "fired bullet jacket could have been fired from" Smith's gun. There was also no report of any dusting for fingerprints at the scene of the crime.
Read More: www.grunge.com/254861/the-mysterious-death-of-ronni-chasen/?utm_campaign=clip