- - Tuesday, November 16, 2010

CALIFORNIA

Slain publicist’s computers seized

BEVERLY HILLS — Investigators have seized computers from the business of a prominent Hollywood publicist who was fatally shot in her car in Beverly Hills on her way home from a movie premiere.

Police hauled the equipment from Ronni Chasen’s business, Chasen and Co., about 12 hours after she was gunned down early Tuesday. They had no suspects or motive for the crime.

The 64-year-old publicist, who promoted such Oscar winners as “Driving Miss Daisy,” was shot several times in the chest in her Mercedes-Benz near Sunset Boulevard. Her car then hit a light pole and she died before dawn at a hospital.

She was killed only hours after attending the premiere of the movie “Burlesque,” which she had a hand in promoting.

MICHIGAN

Fiat returns to take on Cooper

AUBURN HILLS — Italian automaker Fiat is coming back to the U.S. after nearly 30 years.

Fiat plans to unveil the North American versions of its Fiat 500 hatchback and convertible small cars Wednesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It’s the first time Fiat has shown a car bound for this market since 1983, when it halted U.S. sales because of rust and other quality problems.

Fiat says it aims give drivers a sporty, Italian option at a lower price than the $20,000 Mini Cooper.

The 500 has been a big seller in Europe, but European buyers prefer small cars because gas prices are higher there. Small car sales have dipped in the U.S. this year as gas prices stabilized, but Fiat is betting they’ll grow as fuel economy standards rise.

NEW YORK

Mom sent to prison for torture, murder

BUFFALO — A New York woman was sentenced Tuesday to 57 years to life in prison for torturing and smothering her mentally disabled daughter, whom prosecutors said she put through “an almost unimaginable living hell” of sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

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