A man linked by DNA to the murder of a prominent TV director who was killed in his Studio City home more than three decades ago pleaded guilty Friday (October 7) to intentional homicide.
Superior Court Judge Eric Harmon immediately sentenced Edwin Jerry Hiatt, now 55, to 12 years in state prison following his plea to the July 5, 1985 murder of Barry Crane, whose directing credits included “The Incredible Hulk”, “The Love Boat”, “Fantasy Island”, “Police Woman”, “Police Story”, and “Streets of San Francisco”.
The 57-year-old victim had been bludgeoned with a large ceramic statue and had a phone cord wrapped around her neck, according to Assistant District Attorney Beth Silverman.
Crane – who was wrapped in his bedding on the garage floor of his townhouse – was found dead by his housekeeper a day later.
Hiatt was linked to the crime through DNA evidence decades later, authorities said.
Los Angeles police traveled to North Carolina in March 2019 and questioned him.
“During the interview, Hiatt admitted to killing Barry Crane,” according to a statement from the Los Angeles Police Department.
As Hiatt was driven from a sheriff’s station in May 2019, he told reporters he lived in Burke County, North Carolina, and worked at a Mercedes-Benz auto shop in the neighboring county. of Caldwell.
He said then he had no recollection of the murder, but added: “Anything is possible back then. I was big on drugs.
Hiatt was originally charged in May 2019 with murder, but that charge was dismissed following a plea deal with the district attorney’s office.
“Mr. Hiatt is here and obviously ready to accept punishment and accept responsibility,” his attorney, Joshua Smart, told the judge, noting that his client is religious and a “different human being” now.
The prosecutor called the murder “horrific” and noted that “it took 36 years to bring Mr. Hiatt to justice”.
In a statement read in court by the assistant district attorney, the victim’s daughter wrote that her father was an “exceptional man” who “suffered a horrific death.” She called her killer “despicable”.