Ronni Chasen Murder: Doubts Raised About 'Harold'

"Person of Interest" in the case shoots himself when accosted by police.

ByMike Von Fremd, Brian O'keefe, and Olivia Katrandjian
December 03, 2010, 7:28 AM

Dec. 3, 2010 — -- Neighbors of "Harold," the "person of interest" in the Ronni Chasen murder who committed suicide when confronted by the police on Wednesday, find it hard to believe the man they describe as "paranoid," who rode around on a bicycle, could be a professional killer.

"[His neighbors] described him as fairly tall -- 6 foot 3 but of slight build, so he was tall but thin, not a super imposing guy. They say that he wore grey gardening gloves every time he went out that he said was for his protection," Claire Martin of The Daily Beast told "GMA."

"Harold," who neighbors say bragged about killing Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, shot himself fatally, spraying blood all over the lobby of the Harvey Apartments in Hollywood. The grisly crime scene is now the epicenter of what is becoming one of the great Hollywood murder mysteries.

"Harold" was identified by the police as a "person of interest" in the Chasen murder, but the police refused to comment further on how they suspected him to be involved. Police are conducting ballistics tests to see if the gun used in the suicide of a man known to his neighbors as "Harold" is the same gun used to kill Chasen.

"Harold" reportedly told neighbors that he was expecting a big payoff for killing Chasen.

"You have an individual with apparently an extensive criminal history making comments to neighbors that he was involved in this case, however to date we dont know if that's really true," said Brad Garrett, ABC News consultant on crime and terrorism. "Obviously the police were very interested in this gentleman, and apparently were surveilling the building for some time. It'll be interesting to see what facts come out when the ballistics report comes back and when we know more about this man's history and what actually led the police to him."

Chasen, 64, who represented A-list movie stars and promoted some of Hollywood's top films, was driving home on Oct. 9 after attending the premiere party for the movie "Burlesque" when she was gunned down.

One neighbor, Terri Gilpin, 46, said the man always seemed paranoid, would ask if police were looking for him, and "had a screw loose." She said she once called police on him because he wandered into her apartment. "And he said like that publicist. I killed her. I got her and I'm waiting on my big pay."

But there are doubts as to whether "Harold" was involved in the murder at all.

"Neighbors said he rode a bike around town, they don't think he owned a car and he really didn't seem to fit the profile for a cold-blooded killer," Martin told "GMA."

Police Investigating Possible Burglary Connection

About three years ago, Chasen's residence was burglarized, a case which police are now looking at more closely to see if Chasen testified against anyone who may now be out of prison, or if there is any other connection.

"My L.A. PD sources confirm that Ronni Chasen, who lived in West L.A., not in Beverly Hills, was the victim of a burglary which wasn't just a run of the mill looking for cash kind of burglary, but it appears that it was also something that was very personal in nature in that the items that were stolen from her were not necessarily items of value but more like items of family heirlooms, things that would have emotional value," said Robin Sax, a former prosecutor, in an exclusive GMA interview.

"You know when you talk about murder for hire, 95 percent of the time it's about money and I think there is a money trail and I think the police are onto the money trail and they will find out who did this murder," Howard Bragman, a veteran publicist who knew Chasen well, said.

As for money, police may now be looking at Chasen's will, of which ABC News obtained a copy. According to the will, Chasen was worth more than six million dollars. She names her brother executor, and left money to a variety of charities.

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