A man allegedly linked by DNA to the killing of a prominent television director slain in his Studio City home more than three decades ago pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a murder charge.
Edwin Jerry Hiatt, 53, is charged in the 1985 slaying of Barry Crane, whose directing credits included “The Incredible Hulk,” “The Love Boat,” “Fantasy Island,” “Police Woman,” “Police Story” and “The Streets of San Francisco.”
The murder charge includes an allegation that Hiatt used a heavy decorative object during the commission of the crime.
According to Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman, Crane was bludgeoned with a large ceramic statue, and the 57-year-old victim also had a telephone cord wrapped around his neck.
Crane was found dead by his housekeeper on July 6, 1985. He was wrapped in his bedding on the floor of his townhouse garage.
Hiatt was linked to the crime through DNA evidence, according to prosecutors and police detectives, who traveled to North Carolina on March 8 and interviewed him.
“During the interview, Hiatt admitted to killing Barry Crane,” according to a Los Angeles Police Department statement.
As Hiatt was led out of a sheriff’s station in May, 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 then that he has no recollection of the killing, but added, “Anything’s possible back then. I was big into drugs.”
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed the case against Hiatt on May 3.