Ronni Chasen Murder Solved? Experts Cast Doubt

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

Crime experts are casting serious doubts as to whether the murder of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen is indeed solved.


The Beverly Hills Police Department announced Wednesday that the gun Harold Martin Smith used to kill himself was the same as the gun that killed Chasen. The police chief said Smith acted alone in what turned about to be a botched, random robbery. 

But criminologists and former detectives say many of the facts just don't add up.

First off, after Smith killed himself in the lobby of a seedy Hollywood building last week as officers approached him, police said that gun did not match the weapon used during the Chasen crime. And now it is? Criminal defense attorney Steve Cron can't wrap his mind around that.

"I don't understand how the BHPD can state that the guns weren't a match, then suddenly turn around and say the exact opposite. It all seems extremely unprofessional.

"Next week they might have another version, it all makes no sense. Given the track record of those on the case, everything they say going forward has to be looked at with a great deal of skepticism."

No shell casings were found at the scene, which bothers Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Angelyn Gates.

"They were reportedly 9 millimeter bullets used to kill Chasen but there were no casings at the scene, which means that it would need to be a revolver.

"I suppose technically it could be possible with semi automatic handguns and those rounds that the casings ejected could have vanished or disappeared, but you would expect since the police were out there pretty quickly after it occurred they would have been able to pull out at least one of the cartridges', she added.

Police say Smith was riding a bicycle when he killed Chasen. However, no bicycle was seen on security cameras in the area. 

"I don't know why in the initial reports they were saying it couldn't be someone from the streets or the sidewalk because now they're saying completely the opposite," Gates said. "[Smith on a bike] doesn't make a lot of sense because nobody from the original reports said anything about a guy on a bike and it's hard to get away on a bike fast."

Smith would have had to ride eight miles from the crime scene to his home. Police did not say if any other cameras picked him up on his route.

When asked at the new conference why Smith did not take Chasen's purse, phone or jewelry during the alleged robbery, Police Chief David Snowden said, 'I don't know, I'll leave that to the detectives'.

Police said that Smith may have been unable to rob Chasen because she reacted quickly by speeding off after she had been shot five times.

Snowden said police still have work to do, and the investigation is ongoing. But former California prosecutor Robin Sax, who has closely examined the case, summed it up best:

"It just doesn't seem believable. It is possible, but something just seems wrong. It doesn't sound conclusive and nobody feels satisfied with this theory."