BEVERLY HILLS—On Thursday, January 20, Beverly Hills police announced that the murder of Ronni Chasen was not a conspiracy as some had previously thought. According to police, ex-con Harold Martin Smith acted alone.
Preliminary ballistics confirmed that Smith was indeed the killer, but the latest reports have ruled out the prospect of accomplices or an “inside job.”
As Canyon News previously reported, undercover police arrived at Harvey Apartments in the 5600 block of Santa Monica Boulevard in order to contact the suspect, 43-year-old Harold Martin Smith. Smith then pulled a gun and took his own life.
Smith had been identified by several neighbors on the popular television series, “America’s Most Wanted.” The Beverly Hills Police Department cited Smith as a “person of interest” following the television revelations.
Chasen was shot to death after attending the premiere of “Burlesque.” The brutality of the murder led some to postulate varying theories, including gang initiation and robbery. Others theorized that a highly visible publicist like Chasen must have enemies, advancing a hit-man hypothesis.
In the final analysis, authorities have concluded that Chasen’s death was not the result of organized crime, nor was the murder a conspiracy. Due to the fact that the case is not officially closed, the BHPD was unwilling to provide evidential support. Canyon News spoke with a representative of the BHPD who called media reports suggesting an end to the investigation “misconstrued,” saying that the “case is not closed.” Despite police assertions that the case is not closed, the suggestion that the Chasen murder was not a conspiracy prior to the release of any official evidence, raises questions about the authenticity of the claims.
Chasen had a long and prestigious career in the film business. She was originally from New York but moved to Los Angeles in the 1970s to begin her career as a publicist. Chasen was the senior vice president of worldwide publicity for MGM in 1993. Soon after, the famed publicist pioneered her own public relations firm based out of Beverly Hills: Chasen & Co. She promoted a series of notable films, including, “Driving Ms. Daisy,” “Lolita,” “The Swan Princess,” and most recently campaigned for Michael Douglas for his role in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.”