TMZ

Our TV Shows

Got a Tip?

Call TMZ at (888) 847-9869 or Click Here

Road Rage Could Be Trigger in Publicist Murder

12/2/2010 9:22 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Sources connected with the criminal probe into the Ronni Chasen murder tell TMZ Ronni had a temper and road rage is a scenario cops are seriously investigating.

0221_media_removed-1
We're told cops are interested in the road rage theory as it relates to the suicide of the man last night who was the object of a search warrant connected to the murder.

TMZ has learned ... the man who shot himself in the head is HAROLD MARTIN SMITH.

Although there are reports Smith is a suspect in the murder of Ronni Chasen, we're told that label is based on LAPD sources, and the Beverly Hills PD is only considering him a person of interest.

Nevertheless, sources tell us the BHPD is actively investigating Smith to determine if he was in the Beverly Hills area the night of the murder.

And, we're told, as far as Smith goes, money was not the motive.  Although Smith talked about getting $10,000, we're told that was in connection with a civil lawsuit.

So far, we're told, there's no physical evidence linking Smith to the killing, but cops are actively investigating.


102 COMMENTS

No Avatar
31.

Annie     

http://www.jewishjournal.com/hollywoodjew/item/ronni_chasen_suspect_shoots_himself_in_hollywood_hotel_20101201/

1320 days ago
32.

en Todo Momento!!    

would someone who killed someone else in a fit of road rage, really commit suicide?? usually road ragers are so in love with themselves (narcissictic), that i highly doubt that a true 'road rager' would kill themselves.

1320 days ago
33.

Whoa    

Check out Larry Cohen, Ronni's older brother: his imdb.com profile lists 79 writing credits and 21 directing credits. Almost all of his original stories involve murder. Private investigator, cops, ex-wives, hit men, monsters, revenge, etc. He is considered a B-movie director/writer who never got the credit and respect that folks like John Carpenter and John Landis did. But he's worked for years and sold several specs for six figures and has worked with big names.

His daughter Jill Cohen aka Jill Gatsby is a no-name actress (the one doing the odd tribute song to her late auntie in the video posted on TMZ). She's the one who got stiffed in Ronnie's will.

Could it be that this is ultimately an ugly sibling drama gone very wrong? (Larry and Ronni). He had plenty of experience coming up with murder plots from writing movies for decades. Maybe he hired a hit man to bump off his sis?

As for the road rage theory: makes no sense.

As for Harold, the "per;son of interest" (love that cop term): a pawn in the game most likely.

1320 days ago
34.

tmzreader    

There are no stupid ideas - unless you say it was road rage..lol

Posted at 5:50 PM on Dec 2, 2010 by Annie

Thanks, Annie :) But, I don't really mean that kind of stupid. I'm a suspicious type, and I study all kinds of things so I can stay the heck out of the way. If I posted what I think, God only knows what might come of it. But, you are kind to say that.

I just have this feeling I just need to stay out of these things. Hopefully, the ones in charge will know the trail.

1320 days ago
35.

Marilyn    

Never a mention of an ex-husband or past boyfriend
could only mean one thing!

She swings on Lindsay's team.
Maybe a bad lesbo break-up?

1320 days ago
36.

Sandy Bitch    

You all are right I believe it WAS the BRO. That is what my roommate the Psychic said 2 weeks ago. And what the **** could come typing shiz here? Please. Show your cajones!!!

1320 days ago
37.

Annie     

If the ideas/comments of a South Philadelphia housewife upset them that much, I'd be laughing as they shot me :P

1320 days ago
38.

Curious    

Interesting that at first cops were convinced it was a planned murder. A hit from the right side of her car by someone in another vehicle, an SUV or something of higher elevation judging by entrance angles. And no casings left on the ground, no apparent finger or hand prints on the mercedes, the street camera conveniently out of action, no word on what the Hackett security cameras might show. No word on what might be found on her computer to indicate a suspect.

Yet something led them to an ex-con in a run down transient hotel. Who kills himself rather than be taken in for questioning.

And then they say it might be road rage after all?

The WTF-O-Meter is bloody deafening at the moment.

1320 days ago
39.

James    

I think the "road-rage" theory was put out there as a decoy so that the investigation can continue uninterrupted, and so that the culprit(s) might become relaxed, sloppy, and consequently CAUGHT.

1320 days ago
40.

Whoa    

As the Watergate scandal proved: follow the money (trail) and you'll find the bad guy(s).

Murder is almost always about money, sex and/or power. In this case it looks like it may be about Ronni's will and her brother being involved.

1320 days ago
41.

Tellthetruth59    

Business Deal Gone Bad?

Hollywood journalist Allison Hope Weiner has an update on the Ronni Chasen murder case and emails Deadline the following details:

A police source close to the investigation into the murder of Ronni Chasen says that police have a fairly good idea as to who employed a Hollywood hit man to shoot the longtime publicist. Although the alleged hit man killed himself last night before police could take him into custody, authorities are still making progress in their investigation of Chasen's murder. Several sources confirm that police have a working theory that Chasen's murder was related to a business deal gone bad.

First Police Action In Ronni Chasen Murder Results In Another Death: As a detective said last night if the probe into popular publicist Ronni Chasen's slaying was concluded after last night's suicide of the person of interest: "It's not over yet." Police served a search warrant on a man at the Harvey Apartments in a seedy part of Los Angeles at 5640 Santa Monica Boulevard between N Wilton and Western Ave near Hollywood. [UPDATE: The Beverly Hills Courier just reported he's been identified as Harold Smith.] He'd been under police surveillance in connection with the case and fatally shot himself after 6 PM with his handgun own just as the police were approaching in the lobby. He died of a "self-inflicted" gunshot and was pronounced dead at the scene. Chasen, 64, was reportedly shot five times in the chest in the early morning hours of November 16th as she was driving her late model Mercedes Benz west on Sunset Blvd towards her Westwood condo after attending a premiere and party for the Screen Gems film Burlesque. Her shocking death hit Hollywood hard because so many liked Chasen, a petite and hardworking PR-woman who specialized in Oscar campaigns.

http://www.deadline.com/2010/12/update-cops-have-fairly-good-idea-who-ordered-ronni-chasens-hollywood-hit/

1320 days ago
42.

Tellthetruth59    

Bizarre interview with Chasen's brother regarding road rage theory:

http://www.showbiz411.com/2010/12/02/exclusive-ronni-chasens-brother-thinks-it-was-road-rage

1320 days ago
43.

Inouno Nyx    

A few things:
1. What supposedly lead them to the guy who killed himself was the fact that he had bragged about "offing" her and that he was set to receive $10K soon. Neighbors put 2 and 2 together and apparently told on him.
2. OK... so all everyone appears to have extracted from the news about the will is who was excluded. Did anyone read that that was the 1994 will and that there is another will that was drafted in 2006?
3. When this whole investigation started, the BHPD wanted to keep the LAPD away bcs they were suspicious of them, or so they said. Maybe the BHPD was the one trying to do the cover-up without having the LAPD in the way.
4. I kind of think that this was a suicide by hit. The more I think about it, the more likely it seems.

1320 days ago
44.

Curious    

If the brother stood to gain nothing from the will, why would he have her murdered? I'd look at the ones who stood make a bundle.

A business deal - thanks Tell! - is also viable. If the story about Ms. Ronni being followed since last March has any merit, who has she pissed off?

1320 days ago
45.

Curious    

If the brother stood to gain nothing from the will, why would he have her murdered? I'd look at the ones who stood make a bundle.

A business deal - thanks Tell! - is also viable. If the story about Ms. Ronni being followed since last March has any merit, who has she pissed off?

1320 days ago
Previous 15 Comments | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Most Recent | Next 15 Comments

Around The Web