A man was arrested in North Carolina Thursday on suspicion of murdering a prominent television director in Studio City in 1985.
The victim, 57-year-old Barry Crane — who directed such television shows as “The Incredible Hulk,” “The Love Boat,” “Fantasy Island,” “Police Woman,” “Police Story” and “The Streets of San Francisco,” among others — was found by his housekeeper on July 6 of that year. He was wrapped in his bedding on the floor of his townhouse garage, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
The Los Angeles Times reported at the time that he was naked when he was found at his two-bedroom, three-level townhouse in the 4200 block of Colfax Avenue.
Crane, who was also a world-class bridge player and competed in tournaments across the country, appeared to have been bludgeoned and strangled. His vehicle was stolen and later recovered with forensic evidence, police said.
The Times reported that Crane’s wallet was also missing from his home.
In 2006 and 2018, a detective with the LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division requested that evidence be tested again, and in July it led to a forensic match with the suspected killer, identified as Edwin Hiatt, who has been living in North Carolina, police said.
Detectives traveled to North Carolina on March 8 and interviewed Hiatt.
“During the interview, Hiatt admitted to killing Barry Crane,” police said.
The case was presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, which filed one count of murder against Hiatt and an arrest warrant was issued, according to the LAPD. District Attorney’s Office officials could not be reached after hours Thursday to confirm the murder charge.
Hiatt was arrested by members of the FBI’s Fugitive Task Force and is awaiting extradition, police said.
As he was led out of a sheriff’s station to a waiting, the handcuffed, gray-bearded suspect told reporters he has been living in Burke County, North Carolina, and working at a Mercedes-Benz auto shop in neighboring Caldwell County.
He said he has no recollection of the killing, but added, “Anything’s possible back then. I was big into drugs.”