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A new podcast explores the sordid criminal career of Woody Harrelson's father, a convicted murderer who worked as a hitman-for-hire.
“Son of a Hitman” hit the platform Tuesday with two of the 10 episodes now available to stream. Journalist and documentary producer Jason Cavanagh hosts the series, which dives deep into Charles Harrelson’s life and many supposed crimes.
While Woody Harrelson, the “Natural Born Killers” and “No Country For Old Men” star, isn't involved in the podcast, his brothers Brett and Jordan do participate.
In all, Charles Harrelson went to trial for three Texas murders. He was acquitted of the 1968 murder of a man named Alan Berg. He was then convicted of the 1968 murder-for-hire of Sam Degelia Jr. — but only served five years for it.
Most notably, he was convicted of the 1979 assassination of federal judge John H. Wood Jr. which was dubbed the “Crime of the Century” at the time, the Statesman reported in 2018. Wood was the first federal judge to have been killed during the 20th century.
Charles Harrelson was ultimately sentenced to two terms of life in prison.
“Do I think he killed people while he was here on the planet? I for sure do,” Brett Harrelson told Cavanagh on the first episode of the podcast. "How many it might be, I can only imagine.”
While Brett admits his dad is likely a killer, he questions the fairness of his father’s final trial. The podcast documents Cavanagh's quest for the truth as he dives deep into all three of the murders.
"The most recent of these cases took place just over 40 years ago, and yet there's still a shroud of mystery surrounding Charles Harrelson," Cavanagh told Oxygen.com. "Two of the people who I met with over the course of this investigation have already since passed away, and so now is really the last chance to speak to some of the people who were involved in these cases, firsthand. Charles' sons realized that they still had questions about their dad, over 10 years after his death, and if we don't get answers now, we may never know the truth."
As the podcast points out, several conspiracy theories swirl around Charles’ dark legacy.
Woody once told Barbara Walters in an interview that he believed his father was a CIA operative. And furthermore, Charles claimed to have assassinated John F. Kennedy during a standoff with police in 1980, according to a 1982 Texas Monthly story. However, he later denied that and said he only made the claim in order to keep the police from killing him.
Charles Harrelson died in 2007 at the age of 68 inside the ADX Florence in Florence, Colorado. It's the only current supermax prison in the United States and is designed to hold the nation's most dangerous criminals. Current infamous inmates of the facility include Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and "The Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski.
The new podcast features new interviews with investigators and others connected to the murders, in addition to members of Harrelson's family. Cavanagh told Oxygen.com that he has "been struck by is the way that the actions someone took 50 years ago can have such a resounding impact on people to this day."
"When I spoke to the family members of victims, or the children of incarcerated parents, the nerves were still raw, and their lives were shaped by events that they had no control over," he said.
Cavanagh told Oxygen.com that it's important to "question official narratives because there's usually something that's been omitted that could change the way you view history."
New episode of "Son of a Hitman" drop every Tuesday.
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