Chasen Case Still Questioned

The death of well-known Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen is still raising questions now that a coroner’s report, kept under wraps for three years, contradicts the official police report of her murder.

Photo: AP Photo

Chasen, after leaving the premiere of the musical “Burlesque” on Nov. 16, 2010, was gunned down in her car in Beverly Hills.

Nothing was taken from the car, but police concluded she was shot by an indigent black male who rode his bicycle seven miles from Santa Monica Boulevard to rob Chasen.

Now, filmmaker Ryan Katzenbach has successfully sued to get his hands on the autopsy report, which includes an attached synopsis that says “an unknown vehicle pulled up and someone fired approximately four gunshots into her vehicle.”

The man accused of the crime – Harold Smith – committed suicide after police were tipped off to his whereabouts, according to the police.

“If he needed money, there are many places closer than where he went to get it,” one law enforcement source who has investigated more than 100 homicides told Deadline Hollywood. “After you pass the Soho House on Sunset, there are no stores, there are no shops, you have the Beverly Hills Hotel, but little foot traffic. … And the police are there all the time outside those bars like the Soho just waiting for drunk drivers.

“A black man on a bicycle going into Beverly Hills would have been stopped.”

The official story of Chasen’s death has been questioned by her friends, family and business associates.

Speculation has run the gamut – from the Russian Mafia settling debts to a hit by a disgruntled Hollywood insider.

One ear witness told of hearing motorcycles the night before, cruising the area of the murder.

“Never before in my 40 years have I seen motorcycles pacing Whittier Drive,” Michael Sands, who works with law enforcement on high-profile cases, told Fox News.

“It’s all speculation, but if it was a hired hit job – which it sounds like it was – there is usually a scout, a tracker and a wet man who finishes the job. It is possible the location was being properly scouted out the night before.”

The coroner said the second-vehicle “contradiction” was likely nothing more than an investigator’s early speculation, according to The Wrap.

Katzenbach is still checking for clues.

“I felt that the autopsy was pretty garden-variety, what you would expect on any type of victim,” he told the magazine. “It was very thorough, it was very complete. I am still at this point rather puzzled why there was such a need for secrecy, and why this was locked down for three years.”

The BHPD, even though it closed the case, was interested in who attended Chasen’s funeral, Deadline Hollywood noted.