Cigarette butts and a foam cup discarded in North Carolina might have helped solve a 34-year-old Hollywood murder case.
The FBI arrested North Carolina resident Edwin Hiatt on Thursday in connection with the 1985 death of TV director Barry Crane, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement.
Crane produced or directed episodes of popular TV shows such as “Mission: Impossible,” “CHiPs” and “The Six Million Dollar Man,” according to IMDb.com. He also was a world-class champion bridge player.
A housekeeper discovered Crane’s body wrapped in his bedding on the garage floor of his North Hollywood residence, police said.
Crane was beaten repeatedly with a large ceramic statue, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement Friday. A telephone cord was wrapped around his neck.
Hiatt is charged with one count of murder “with a special allegation that he used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a heavy decorative object, during the commission of the crime,” according to the district attorney’s office.
His arraignment will be scheduled for a later date. If convicted, Hiatt faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Crane’s Cadillac was stolen and later recovered with forensic evidence, including a fingerprint that detectives matched last year to Hiatt.
Hiatt was arrested in the town of Rutherford College at the repair shop where he worked. Authorities had collected his discarded cigarettes and a foam cup to test for evidence, CNN affiliate WSOC TV reported.
DNA evidence linked Hiatt to the crime, according to the district attorney’s statement.
Hiatt was 18 when Crane died.
“It’s a different life today,” Hiatt — with long, receding white hair and a beard — told the station Thursday as police took him to jail.
Asked if he was involved in the murder, he said, “Anything is possible back then because I was big into drugs.”
The LAPD said Hiatt told detectives March 8 that he killed Crane. The motive is unclear.
Crane, a native of Detroit, was 57.
The FBI tracked Hiatt to North Carolina through social media, WSOC TV reported.
Asked if he remembered Crane, Hiatt told the station, “I don’t remember the guy until they told me his name, and then I didn’t remember his picture.”