Federal Bureau of Investigation

Man Charged in Cold-Case Slaying of Prominent Hollywood TV Director

A 52-year-old man was charged Friday with the killing of TV producer and director Barry Crane more than three decades ago, prosecutors said.

Edwin Jerry Hiatt II was charged with one count of murder with a special allegation that he used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a heavy decorative object, during the commission of the crime, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Hiatt is accused of killing Crane on July 5, 1985 in his Studio City town house, officials said.

A housekeeper found Crane, 57, in the garage. He had been bludgeoned by a large ceramic statue, prosecutors said. He also had a telephone cord wrapped around his neck, they said.

Hiatt was arrested this week in North Carolina where he is awaiting extradition.

Crane directed dozens of episodes of such hit 1970s and '80s TV shows as "The Incredible Hulk, "Hawaii 5-O" and "The Six Million Dollar Man."

He also produced the show "The Magician" and was associate producer for "Mannix" and "Mission: Impossible." He also was a world-class bridge player.

There was no word on a motive for the killing.

Crane's death went unsolved until police said they matched a fingerprint from Crane's stolen car to Hiatt last year. FBI investigators then obtained discarded cigarette butts and a coffee cup from the parking lot of the auto repair shop in Burke County where Hiatt worked.

DNA from some items matched that from cigarette butts found in Crane's stolen car, which was discovered shortly after his death on a mountain road, investigators said.

On March 8, homicide detectives went to North Carolina to interview Hiatt. "During the interview, Hiatt admitted to killing Barry Crane," an LAPD statement said.

It wasn't known whether Hiatt had a lawyer.

Co-workers told the News Herald that Hiatt was a generous and peaceful man.

"He wouldn't hurt a flea," Dee Hall said. "This is something that supposedly happened 30 years ago, the man's changed."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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