BEVERLY HILLS—The city of Beverly Hills and the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office released the autopsy report of the murder of publicist Ronni Chasen on Thursday, December 12 after director Ryan Katzenbach sued them. Katzenbach, a documentary filmmaker known for the “Shattered Hopes: The True Story of the Amityville Murders” series, filed an ongoing lawsuit last month in order to obtain information for his upcoming documentary, “6:38: The Death of Ronni Chasen.” The purpose of the film is to investigate the last six minutes and thirty seconds of her life.
Chasen, a Hollywood publicist, was killed in November 2010 while she was driving home from the premiere of the movie “Burlesque.” At 12:30 a.m.,
Beverly Hills police found her Mercedes Benz crashed into a street lamp and her body inflicted with multiple gunshot wounds. A year after her death, the Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) concluded that Chasen had been shot by ex-convict Harold Martin Smith who had attempted to rob the victim.
The police were able to nab Smith because the bullets that killed Chasen matched the gun that he owned. When police tried to arrest him at the Harvey Apartments in
Hollywood on December 1, 2010, Smith used the same gun to commit suicide.
Ronni Chasen was killed in November 2010.
In the process of making his film, Katzenbach had been investigating the details of Chasen’s murder and seeking to expose the BHPD’s treatment of the case. Despite the fact that the BHPD already concluded Chasen’s death was caused by only one person, Katzenbach remains wary of the reports, due to many ambiguities about the investigation process.
Another ambiguity which the documentary investigates is the BHPD’s search for a second vehicle at the scene of the crime, although it was later confirmed that Smith had shot her from a bicycle. Also, Katzenbach interviewed two witnesses at the scene who said they had heard rapid shots followed immediately by a crash, which contradicts the police department’s claim that Chasen drove a quarter mile before crashing.