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Probe into slaying of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen now closed

July 15, 2011 |  2:26 pm

Photo: Ronni Chasen, second from right. Credit: Los Angeles Times. Seven months after Beverly Hills police said movie publicist Ronni Chasen’s slaying probably was the result of a botched robbery by a petty crook, the department formally closed the investigation Friday.

They said dozens of interviews and other records have confirmed their finding.

The stunning Sunset Boulevard shooting in December was the work of Harold Martin Smith, who later shot himself in Hollywood, investigators concluded after some 10,000 hours of work.

“All facts and evidence conclusively indicate that Mr. Smith acted alone and was in possession of the murder weapon when confronted in Hollywood for questioning on the night of Dec. 10, 2010,”  department officials said Friday in a statement.

“Los Angeles County sheriff's [deputies] confirmed the weapon used in the Chasen homicide and the weapon Smith used to take his own life, were one in the same,” the statement read.

When Beverly Hills Police Chief Dave Snowden announced the preliminary results of the investigation last year, it was met with skepticism by some who doubted the crime’s randomness.

But the investigation led by Sgt. Mike Publicker “reviewed in excess of 150,000 emails and texts belonging to the victim and investigated thousands of tips received on the police department’s hotline," according to the department.

Investigators reviewed thousands of financial documents belonging to Chasen and recovered video and closed-circuit TV footage that established her between a Hollywood party and Beverly Hills on the night of her murder.

Numerous interviews were conducted with family, friends, professional contacts and others who provided information to detectives, officials said.

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-- Richard Winton

Photo: Ronni Chasen, second from right. Credit: Los Angeles Times.

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