Police thought they had a break last week in the mysterious murder of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, when a suspect in the case shot and killed himself. Actually, no. That would be too easy.

Police now say that Harold Smith, the man who shot himself as police approached him last week, "probably has no connection" to Chasen's murder. The ballistics tests on his gun came back negative. (The tip about him came from America's Most Wanted.) Which raises the separate question of why he chose to kill himself, but, since he's no longer a suspect in this case, he'll probably fall out of the news immediately. Here's where the case stands now—in the media, which is how Chasen would have wanted it:

  • The NYT yesterday framed Chasen as an older woman desperately struggling to stay financially and reputationally relevant in today's Hollywood: constantly trying to keep up with younger, more prestigious PR firms, and working hard to appear, perhaps, a bit more plugged in than she really was. And sensitive about her age. Piddly stuff, really. There was also this, from her brother: "This guy [who shot himself] was a deranged person who just made that up; no way he was involved...I still think this was most likely a case of road rage."
  • She was worth $6 million—a lot, for a PR person in her position. She notably screwed some family members in her will, and they're certainly all being investigated, which must be very unpleasant for them if they're innocent.
  • Police reportedly have video of her car just as it crashed, and are "reviewing video of a black Lincoln Town Car that passed Chasen's car minutes after her crash and did not to stop."
  • Here is an explanation of how Ronni Chasen's murderer was only two degrees of separation from Sarah Palin.
  • Oh, update: The Daily Beast reports that an email circulated in the same neighborhood where Chasen was killed, just a week before she was shot, saying that "an African American guy with a shirt tied on his head-gang garb-was driving crazy behind her, cutting off drivers, then pulled up next to her at the Tower [Road] stop light and, with window rolled down, smiled at her while he pointed a gun at her." A pattern, or just crazy shit in L.A.? I don't know.

Essentially, we're still stuck with the same conspiracy theories as before.
[Photo: Getty]