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DNA Evidence Leads Police To Capture Man Accused Of Killing Prominent TV Director In 1985

“Anything is possible back then. I was big into drugs. ... Everything that I’m at today is a totally different lifestyle from where I was before,” said Edwin Hiatt after being arrested for killing Barry Crane.

By Eric Shorey

After more than 30 years, police have finally arrested a man they believe violently murdered a famous TV director.

Edwin Hiatt was arrested in North Carolina on Thursday in connection to the 1985 killing of Hollywood personality Barry Crane. The case had been cold for several decades but newly acquired DNA evidence led to Hiatt's arrest and, police say, a confession.

"During the interview, Hiatt admitted to killing Barry Crane," an LAPD statement said, according to USA Today.

A fingerprint specialist had matched a print from Crane's car to Hiatt in 2018, according to The News-Herald of Morgantown, North Carolina. Then, unbeknownst to Hiatt, police grabbed a coffee cup and cigarettes he had discarded, which matched up to DNA evidence left behind in Crane's stolen vehicle.

When asked about the accusations, Hiatt did not deny anything, saying he has no memory of the attack and that he would not recognize a photo of Crane. 

“Anything is possible back then,” he said to WSOC-TV of Charlotte, North Carolina. “I was big into drugs. ... Everything that I’m at today is a totally different lifestyle from where I was before."

Edwin Hiatt

Crane had been a prominent filmmaker in the 1970s and 1980s, having directed episodes of “The Incredible Hulk,” “Hawaii Five-O” and “The Six Million Dollar Man.” He also worked as a producer on “Mission Impossible” and “The Magician.” Additionally, Crane was a master bridge player and remains a legend in the game, according to The New York Times. He was crowned national champion 13 times and was posthumously inducted into the American Contract Bridge League Hall of Fame in 1995.

Crane's bludgeoned and strangled body was found by a housekeeper on July 5, 1985. He was 57 years old at the time of his death. Police reported that his car had been taken as well.

A motive for the killing was — and remains — unclear.

Hiatt had previously been arrested for stealing a car that was not Crane's in 1985 and for domestic violence in 1997.

Coworkers at the 2nd Chance Engine Repair where Hiatt was employed were shocked by the news.

“We’ve all got pasts, you know?” Dee Hall told The News-Herald. “How would you feel if somebody come back 30 years later on something you’d done. ... This is something that supposedly happened 30 years ago, the man’s changed. He ain’t the same man. Christ has come in and he’s become a new creature. If God’s forgiven you, you’re forgiven. That’s it.”

Hiatt is scheduled to appear in court on Friday. He is now awaiting extradition to Los Angeles, according to a statement from the LAPD given to the Los Angeles Times.

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