The Ronni Chasen murder mystery is far from over. It’s highly probable that the so-called “suspect” who shot himself had nothing to do with it. Harold Smith, who had lived in the low rent Harvey Apartments, had a history of arrests and incarcerations for burglary, robbery, drugs and firearms. His neighbors agreed he was strange, crazy, paranoid, and most didn’t believe his babblings – even when he supposedly bragged about killing “the publicist.” (The reward prompted someone to report him anyway and cops started tracking his moves.) He did vow that he’d rather die than return to prison. Several burglaries had occurred in the neighborhood and Smith, who had moved out of the building, returned several times to ASK if cops were looking for him. Police confronted him in the lobby and before they could say a word, he shot himself. It’s entirely possible that this mental case thought he was being arrested for the burglaries- and he couldn’t face prison again. What’s more, it’s common knowledge that Harold Smith rode a bicycle. Odds of this crackpot being hired to “off” anybody are slim, indeed. Police are hoping bullets connect the suicide and the murder but we seriously doubt that a delusional man on a bicycle had anything to do with this crime.

Posted by Janet on December 3, 2010

There are 53 Comments.  TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK!

53 Comments so far

  1. By Muffin
    On December 3, 2010 at

    Hmm. The real question here is….Did anyone, other than the LAPD, actually see this man commit suicide? The LAPD have a notorious reputation for being corrupt. Who knows how big or deep this case is. Or to what lengths the real person or people would go through to cover this up. Did Charlie Sheen not tell some of his women that he had connection to the LAPD and that he could have them snuffed out at any time(not directly ralated, I know but just an example of the kind of stuff that’s out there)? This seems to easy. I smell a cover up of EPIC proportions. We may never know what exactly happened!!

  2. By SebastianCanada
    On December 3, 2010 at

    Sounds like a typical case of The Nearest Black Guy Is the Suspect.

    What are the odds that — if Smith is innocent of the murder — the police will be held accountable for this atrocious bungle?

  3. By Bettye Bluejay
    On December 3, 2010 at

    The bullets were rare, outlawed .9mm hollowpoints–definitely a professional hit. The cops are required to check out everything, even a person who’s crazy, yet bragging about doing it. There was probably enough evidence to charge the guy with burglary–and give him jail time. He’s not an Oswald.

  4. By Bitchie McSnit
    On December 3, 2010 at

    2 words: Russian Mafia

  5. By Pippa-London
    On December 3, 2010 at

    Janet the term ‘mental case’ is quite derogatory and misplaced. Many people suffer from mental illnesses which may be undiagnosed or they have no access to Health care. Choose your words a little more wisely.

  6. By Patrick
    On December 4, 2010 at

    It was RITA!!!

  7. By strom
    On December 4, 2010 at

    9 mm hollow points are not outlawed but it is against the law for an ex felon to have a gun. From the story on this guy it seems he was absolutely a criminal and maybe the world and LA are better off w/o him even if he didnt kill the publicist. He killed himself and soon we will have the black enablers looking to protest and sue.

    Ronni the real Cohen was probably hit by a pro for something in her past.

  8. By Hello
    On December 4, 2010 at

    I’m confused?!? BH is a very affluent place and there werent any cameras around? How far did this guy live from the murder. If his only transportation was a bike how fast would he be able to get good shoots, still have the gun, and ride his bike home? Since he was known burglar did he steal anything off of her? Key stone coppers always look at darkies first as if the they sit there with elaborate sophisticated plans to commit 1st degree felony in public especially when money is involved. Have they checked her computer, cell phone, landline phone or mail for clues. The first black person & they think it’s a open & shut case. Following politics not investigations is the only thing coppers know.

  9. By strom
    On December 4, 2010 at

  10. By rita
    On December 4, 2010 at

    janet you dumbo…you cannot post a headline saying he didn’t do it until the police say he didn’t do it.

  11. By Marianne
    On December 4, 2010 at

    Where did Reta go?

  12. By wim
    On December 4, 2010 at

    unfortunately for him he was black at the time……….

  13. By Inquiring Mind
    On December 4, 2010 at

    She left virtually her entire estate—roughly in excess of $6 million—to her niece, Melissa Cohen.

    Another niece—Jill Cohen—was left exactly 10(ten) dollars.

    Rumors abound that Cohen-Chasen was mixed up in an “unnamed relative’s” difficulty over unpaid gambling debts.

    Her brother Larry (father to Melissa and Jill?), has stated repeatedly: “I’m sure it was road rage. I’m sure it was some kind of random thing.”

    A theory police investigators, among others, have all but discarded—owing to the professional, targeted nature of the hit, and other factors.

    Police have also indicated their belief that 43-year-old Harold Smith had no involvement in the slaying of Ronni Chasen.

    And, perhaps most surprisingly, they have also expressed confidence that the person who “ordered her killing” would be soon brought to justice.

    It is actually quite normal for mentally deficient people and attention-seekers to claim responsibility for acts they did not commit.* But a delusional subject taking his own life under the circumstances alleged is highly unusual—maybe even unprecedented.

    To their credit, the LAPD/BHPD resisted the temptation (or maybe things didn’t progress far enough along for them to do this), to trumpet an obviously ill person as the actual killer—as was done a few years ago by the Keystone Kops organization in Colorado Springs, still struggling feebly to close the Jon-Benet Ramsey case.

    *If in fact, Smith did brag about killing Cohen-Chasen; we have only the word of the two former neighbors, whose statements sound remarkably contrived—like something from an episode of 1-ADAM-12 or Dragnet.

  14. By Inquiring Mind
    On December 4, 2010 at

    And stories have also circulated in LA that Cohen-Chasen pulled out of an agreement to connect some of her clients (RJ Wagner was one named) to forged art; the belief being that the association to famous people would make the phony art easier to unload down the line.

    If true, her decision to renege on the deal was probably not what got her killed. Rather it was what she knew—and the people she knew to be involved in said deal, that sealed her fate.

  15. By Palermo
    On December 4, 2010 at

    Gambling debts? Sounds like the loanshark didn’t play …

  16. By Inquiring Mind
    On December 4, 2010 at

    To expand on the contrived, by-the-numbers sound of the statements: Smith allegedly “talked all the time” to one neighbor (Gilpin) about killing the publicist. And allegedly disclosed to another (Harrison)—more than once—that he was expecting “10-thousand dollars” for a job that he did. (And that “he would do anything” to avoid going back to prison.)

    What doesn’t ring true is the fact that there is no cross-pollination, so to speak, between the statements Smith allegedly made, and the people to whom he made them.

    Instead, we are presented with two separate pieces of incriminatory hearsay—both of which taken together very conveniently “advance the story.” A story which some of the press and members of the Hollywood community have lapped-up wholesale.

    Do real investigative journalists still exist? If so, one would want to know an awful lot more about Harrison and Gilpin. Both of whom, it must be said, may have just made up their stories for no other reason than their hope of getting a piece of the reward money—an attractive proposition to a resident of a transient hotel.

  17. By Inquiring Mind
    On December 4, 2010 at

    A more cynical theory is that Harrison and Gilpin are straight out of Central Casting.

    And surprisingly talkative, no?

    Any rational person might be living in fear that the person or persons who contracted the Ronni Cohen-Chasen hit would not take kindly to two interview-friendly “witnesses” who may also “know too much.”

    Ah, L.A. The Land of Make-Believe.

  18. By Inquiring Mind
    On December 4, 2010 at

    What, no Gilpin or Harrison statement that Harold Smith also “was always talking about how he liked to ride his bike really really fast”?

  19. By Barnacle
    On December 4, 2010 at

    This case sounds like a mob hit. I bet she borrowed money from the mafia to finance that horrible Burlesque movie.


  20. By Patricia
    On December 4, 2010 at

    The police put this guy under surveilance because he was telling people he commited the crime. And jeez, I can’t believe some of the anti-Semetic comments here.

  21. By Lorraine
    On December 4, 2010 at

    Patricia, Is this your first time here? If so, go back thru several of the other comments and you’ll really have your eyes opened. This is the most racist site on the net!

  22. By Inquiring Mind
    On December 4, 2010 at

    Was Smith on parole, i.e., maintaining regular contact with a Parole Officer?

    Was he a convicted felon? If so, he would be subject to search at any time. This crime was committed with a firearm. Any police efforts would be directed toward determining:

    A. Whether he had a firearm in his possession.

    B. Whether said firearm was used in the crime in question.

    Where did Smith actually live, if not at the Harvey Apartments?

    What, ultimately, caused police to converge on the Harvey Building on Friday?

    What “evidence,” if any, was uncovered as Smith was under surveillance—presumably as he peddled around Hollywood?

    Indeed, only a capacity for CRITICAL THINKING stands in the way of the official story being completely credible.

  23. By Inquiring Mind
    On December 4, 2010 at

    Oh, and Pat and Lorraine: Get a room.

  24. By Inquiring Mind
    On December 4, 2010 at

    How long would someone have to be surveilled if he was credibly telling people he was responsible for committing a crime?

    Were police waiting until he made a move against another victim/publicist?

  25. By Lenny
    On December 4, 2010 at

    I’m putting all my eggs in the basket that the brother knows more than he’s saying. I don’t know why I just don’t trust someone who comes up with a theory, when their sister is killed, all you cared about is that someone killed he.

  26. By Lenny
    On December 4, 2010 at

    Typo, I mean her.

  27. By Denise
    On December 4, 2010 at

    Lorainne, not all of us are racist (strom). Most of us (but not strom) post without calling race/sex/gender/sexual orientation into the issue (but not strom). Don’t paint us with a broad brush (but you can paint strom with whatever you wish, he may like it).

  28. By SebastianCanada
    On December 4, 2010 at

    I do not see how comments RE this post are examples of racism, apart from Strom’s, as Denise pointed out. Now, other posts are another matter, and I accept that I could be accused of making race/gender/sexual-orientation an issue — even unnecessarily — but that is because they ARE an issue in our society and not discussing these things opening would be racist, sexist, homophobic and bloody hypocritical.

  29. By Patricia
    On December 5, 2010 at

    Lorraine, I haven’t looked at this website in about six months. I AM shocked. Why does Janet allow such anti-Semitic comments here? And other racist comments, too?

  30. By Patricia
    On December 5, 2010 at

    Tell you what…”Inquiring Mind”….you and STROM go get a room.

  31. By strom
    On December 5, 2010 at

    Maybe you would prefer the PC enablers to censor everything but that is not America.

    Some people simply dont want to see the truth and please advise of anything on Ronni (who ran from her name) or Rachael which is not accurate?

  32. By Inquiring Mind
    On December 5, 2010 at

    If it’s true that an unnamed relative of Ronni Cohen-Chasen is in serious shit over unpaid gambling debts…

    and if her brother Larry Cohen is, in fact, that relative,

    then Larry’s luck may have just taken a turn for the better,

    because Melissa Cohen has just come into a bit of money. Yay!

    Let’s just hope it’s enough to pay off the debt and avoid any further bloodshed in the family.

  33. By Bettye Bluejay
    On December 5, 2010 at

    The brother is definitely hiding something if the first thing he says publicly is that it was a case of road rage.

  34. By Inquiring Mind
    On December 5, 2010 at

    Oh, and this may not be directly related to the Cohen-Chasen murder, but it does involve contract killings and money and surely the BHPD/LAPD would want to follow-up on every possible lead:

    (From Friday’s NY Post)
    “Rabbi Busted in Cop ‘Hit’”

    A Brooklyn rabbi was charged yesterday in the contract killing of a former suburban police officer and his nephew, authorities said.

    Victor Koltun, 41 — whose rap sheet includes mortgage-fraud allegations — is accused of hiring two ex-cons to kill Frank Piscopo, 49, and Gerald Piscopo, 28, in Newburgh, Orange County.

    Both Piscopos were found dead Nov. 4.

    Koltun, of Sheepshead Bay, already faces a possible 15-year prison term on separate charges that he pocketed proceeds of a $225,000 mortgage on several Brooklyn houses he did not own.

    Newburgh cops also busted Frank Lewis, 56, of Manhattan, and Craig Fennell, 51, of Brooklyn, for allegedly carrying out the killings.

    Both Lewis and Fennell are parolees with convictions for violent crimes.

    All three suspects were arraigned yesterday in Newburgh city court and ordered jailed without bail.

  35. By Tara Madoff-Mezvinsky
    On December 5, 2010 at

    I am in 110% absolute complete agreement with Patricia and Lorraine.

    Any time anybody starts up with me with hateful things like “facts” and “the truth,” well, I just scream “Anti-Semite!!!” at them at the top of my voice and that usually
    shuts them up like a clam. Try it sometime.

    Now, where exactly is this room everybody keeps taking about, because those two gals sound like fun!

  36. By Vandenburg's ghost
    On December 5, 2010 at

    Pay your gambling debts folks!!

  37. By SebastianCanada
    On December 5, 2010 at

    I am disgusted with the way this thread has gone, thanks to Strom and Inquiring Minds. Connecting crimes simply by the ethnicity of the perpetrators is vile and moronic. One can build a case against any group — Jews, Blacks, WASPs, men, women, short people (yeah, did you ever notice that criminals are usually average or below average in height?)– by doing that. And in the end it just proves that the whole human race is disgusting and despicable, and that to call us animals would be an insult to animals.

  38. By Patricia
    On December 5, 2010 at

    Strom and Inquiring Mind feel free to post racial slurs because they are safely hiding behind their computers! In “real” life, they’re probably wimps and nerds.

  39. By Lenny
    On December 5, 2010 at

    I’m notshock about anything these days with the craziness out there and in here. Some people hate and that’s there life’s work to point out hateful and ugly thing more about themselves than about the people they are talking about. This was never about anything other than a woman was murdered and her killer hadn’t been caught. The rest is in the heads of shit for brains.

  40. By Irony
    On December 5, 2010 at

    Don’t forget Larry is a producer. He stands to make some of that needed cash from selling the TV rights to “Left At The Light, Then Dead Ahead: The Ronni Cohen-Chasen Story.”

    With Linda Lavin or Judith Light to star.

  41. By Reta
    On December 5, 2010 at

    So now Vandenburg’s Ghost appears haunting his former selves, Gerard Vandenburg, wim, and Captain America. One of the worst racist assholes on this site along with strom the both of them vomit up the most vile and hate filled racist comments on the net, or any gossip site. Janet Charlton does absolutely NOTHING to provent or correct it and keep her faithful followers. She apparently prefers racists and gay bashers over the rest of her visitors. I find that rather odd and very dissappointing.

  42. By Lorraine
    On December 5, 2010 at

    I’m wondering why Inquiring Mind has gone so far out of the way to post so much crap on this subject. If you want to be a reporter, go get a job at a newspaper!

  43. By Indy
    On December 5, 2010 at

    Who killed JonBenet Ramsey? That is what the world wants to know. Personally, I think it was mama.

  44. By SebastianCanada
    On December 5, 2010 at

    Reta is back. Yeah! I am glad, and not just because it will piss off that little pischer Patrick.

  45. By Reta
    On December 5, 2010 at

    Why thank you Sebastian, and I missed you too, altho I have no idea who that jacking off moron is or why he is threatened by the very presence of my four little letters. Must be very very small “minded” if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

    Patrick, take your sticky fist out of your pants and salute with both hands, you might get noticed if you do, your one tiny paw is apparently far too small to garner any attention. Now, wave to all the nice people!

  46. By Elin
    On December 5, 2010 at

    Well good thing for Melissa that she died now because Thanks to Obama the death tax goes from 0 to 55% after Jan 1st.

  47. By sarah
    On December 5, 2010 at

    You’re terribly ignorant about the “death tax,” Ellin. Obama had nothing to do with it. The way it was set up some time ago, this particular year had no estate tax. if you were lucky enough to die this year, well, no taxes for your heirs. The tax would resume regardless of the name of the president. Before you blame everything on Obama, check your facts.

  48. By Muffin
    On December 5, 2010 at

    Considering the amount of chat that this murder case has generated on this site, there most definately will be a movie made. It seems to have peaked a lot of people’s interest. I think the answer definately lies with those who would have more to gain with her being dead. Brother, neice, Art thieves???

  49. By SebastianCanada
    On December 5, 2010 at

    Muffin, I agree with you there — this case is captivating. Just look at us! There is no reason why Canadians should be so captivated by the case, other than the great mystery that it is. The story writes itself.

  50. By Inquiring Mind
    On December 6, 2010 at

    Actually, Lenny, this story became something much more than you suggest the moment a second corpse—that would be Harold Smith—showed up, apparently in relation to it.

    And if nothing happens in the investigation from this point going forward—no more leads, no more nothing except an ever colder case, then guess what?

    A year from now, when someone wonders, “Hey what ever happened with the Cohen-Chasen murder-for-hire investigation?”

    A very reasonable and likely response might be: “Don’t you remember? That ex-con confessed to anybody who would listen and then shot himself when the cops closed in.”

    Case closed. End of story. A convenient patsy takes the fall—and without ever taking the stand. Despite public statements from investigators TODAY confirming the obvious, that Smith most likely had nothing whatever to do with this murder.

    And how do we know that such a down-the-memory-hole-collective-amnesia outcome is possible?

    One year after the fact of a strange incident over Detroit in December 2009, finds near-universal acceptance by the media and others of the official version of the case of “The Underwear Bomber.”

    Except, of course, that the subject didn’t have a bomb.

    He did have underwear, however, and the means apparently to light his flatulence, at best—certainly not the ability to blow up an airliner.

    (And that egregious Error In Fact—in other words, LIE—doesn’t even touch upon all the circumstances—counter to EVERY KNOWN SECURITY PROCEDURE—that allowed him to board the plane in the first place.)

    Something to keep in mind, perhaps, when you are explaining to your 6-year-old daughter why she has to be groped and/or irradiated in order to help “keep us safe.”

    (And no, before anyone’s panties become hopelessly twisted, no one here is drawing any unpleasant connection between the fact that former head of Homeland Security and dual-citizen Michael Chertoff, now heads up the company which is reaping millions in profit due to the now-mandatory sale to airports of back-scatter x-ray machines, because pointing out that kind of connection would clearly be, uh, anti-Vegematic, er, anti-Specific, or something.)

  51. By strom
    On December 6, 2010 at

    Most of the time when someone screams Anti-Semite it is because they dont like the truth. The truth, or lack of it is part of the problem that probably got Cohen-Chasen planted 6 foot under.

  52. By SebastianCanada
    On December 6, 2010 at

    Strom, at this point, I am more annoyed at you for being a geek than for being a racist.

    What does “the truth” have to do with anything when you inject completely unrelated details into a conversation? You are the anti-Semite equivalent of the dorks in high school who would suddenly start talking about Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

    Another Geek aspect to you: you have inserted yourself in a group in which you do not belong, containing people you could not possibly like, and continually force yourself upon us all. Find your own kind where you can share warm stories about Hitler, swap stats about the evil non-whites and Jews, and get together for Nazi circle jerks.

  53. By strom
    On December 6, 2010 at

    Get over the whining. Environment or heredity, there is a reason Ronni and Rachel are much the same:



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