Ronni Chasen autopsy report reveals early police account of her death

An autopsy report released Thursday by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office is raising new questions about the shooting death of veteran Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen.

Chasen was found shot multiple times in her Mercedes coupe on a Beverly Hills street in November 2010. A year later, the Beverly Hills Police Department formally concluded that Chasen’s shooting death was the result of a botched robbery by Harold Martin Smith, a small time ex-convict who had grown desperate for money.

Police said Smith approached Chasen’s car on his bike at a stopped traffic light at Sunset Boulevard and Whittier Drive and tried to rob her. But a section of the autopsy report released Thursday titled “Informant/Witness Statements” contradicts that conclusion.

The report states that while Chasen was stopped at a red light at the intersection, “an unknown vehicle pulled up and someone fired approximately four gunshots into her vehicle.”

The killing shocked Hollywood’s elite and prompted an outpouring of grief and tributes from friends and colleagues. The autopsy report could reignite conspiracy theories that swirled after her death, particulary among friends who never accepted the official police account.


Smith fatally shot himself in Hollywood before police could bring him in for questioning.

A spokesman for the Beverly Hills Police Department could not be immediately reached for comment Thursday.


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