Revealed: First image of dead ‘suspect’ in murder of Hollywood publicist… but was he the killer?

Police have released the first image of a man who killed himself after he was confronted by police who believe he was connected to the murder of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen.

The black and white mugshot of Harold Smith, 43, was released today as doubts grew over his role in Miss Chasen’s death.

Smith shot himself dead on Wednesday when he was confronted by police in his apartment building on Santa Monica Boulevard.

But with new details emerging about his past and questions over his mental state, confusion was growing over whether he was the ‘expert marksmen’ who gunned Miss Chasen down in Beverly Hills last month.

Smith had served two prison sentences for weapons and drugs. He had been under surveillance by police for some time.

Officers had been careful to describe him only as a ‘person of interest’ in statements to the media, and to emphasise that their investigation was not over with his death.

However with four sources telling the LATimes that Smith had been considered a ‘suspect’, it seemed clear the investigation was centring on him.

Neighbours, however, had their doubts.

He was described by a building resident as a ‘strange’ man who loved his bicycle.

‘He bragged all the time that he was the one who killed the publicist, and he was always talking about how he was going to get paid $10,000 for it,’ neighbour Terri Gilpin said in a televised interview.

But it emerged today that the mystery payment related to a compensation deal he had won through a civil lawsuit.

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