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Video could hold clues to Chasen murder

December 3, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Investigators continue to follow leads in the murder of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, including a surveillance video tape from a home nearby the murder site. Chasen, 64, was killed on Nov. 16 as she was driving in her Mercedes-Benz through Beverly Hills after attending a Hollywood premiere party. She had been shot several times in the chest and her car crashed into a light pole.

The crash was captured on a surveillance camera from a security system at a house on Whittier Drive. The man who lives there, Robbie Shaeffer, said the footage from his camera shows Chasen driving straight down the street shortly after she had been shot five times in the chest. He said the footage shows the door swing open after hitting the light pole.

He said the footage shows a Lincoln Town Car drive by Chasen's car just 30 seconds after she crashed. Schaeffer said the video doesn't show license plates but he turned the footage over to Beverly Hills police two days after the murder.

Investigators are also looking into whether a burglary at her home several years ago may be connected to her death.

Former prosecutor Robin Sax told "Good Morning America" on Friday that her LAPD sources said Chasen's West L.A. home had been burglarized about three years ago.

"It wasn't just your run of the mill, looking for cash kind of burglary, but it appears it was something that was very personal in nature," she said.

According to Sax, stolen property included family heirlooms and other things that had emotional value.

Court documents were released Thursday showing Chasen had an estimated worth of $6 million. Chasen's brother Lawrence Cohen is petitioning to become the special executor of her will. He says that he has a key to Chasen's safety deposit box, which contains a new will filed in 2006.

In a 1994 will, Chasen left a substantial amount to one of Cohen's daughters Melissa, but left just $10 to another daughter Jill.

Cohen has claimed that his sister was the victim of road rage, but many experts don't agree.

"It just doesn't add up to be a road-rage type of situation," Sax said.

There's also new information about Harold Smith, the person of interest in the case who committed suicide.

John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted" said one of his tipsters were one of the first people to tip off police about Smith, a convicted felon.

Sax said Smith had been monitored by authorities for about a week before the police went in to question him. But before he could be questioned by police, Smith killed himself on Wednesday night.

Some of his neighbors said he had bragged to them about Chasen's murder, saying he would make $10,000 from it.


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