DETROIT (FOX 2) - A Hollywood producer/director was murdered back in the '80s. He was originally from Detroit - and police have finally arrested a suspect in connection with his case.
He was known as Barry Cohen, until he changed his name to Barry Crane and moved to California to pursue his dreams of becoming a Hollywood director. He became known for popular films and TV shows such as "Mission: Impossible," "The Incredible Hulk" and "The Love Boat." But then he was murdered in 1985.
His case went cold for more than 30 years, but new forensic techniques using finger prints and DNA from cigarette butts have finally revealed a suspect.
Fifty two-year-old Edwin Hiatt spent most of his life moving from city to city but is now behind bars for the decades' old murder. He's accused of killing Crane at his lavish home in Los Angeles.
"I was just shocked when I seen it on the news about him possibly murdering somebody," said Wes Ward, a friend of Hiatt's.
Crane was found dead in his garage where he'd been bludgeoned to death with a large statute and strangled with a phone cord. The case went cold but a DNA match led investigators to the killer they'd suspected. They tracked Hiatt to Connelly Springs in North Carolina where neighbors say he was well known.
"When I first seen him he was actually known as the guy that carried the cross across the country. He drug the cross for a long time and I seen him going up the road with the cross," Ward said.
A woman who worked with Hiatt says he's a good Christian man and she supports him and stands behind him. A former neighbor says he had several conversations with Hiatt and they were always about his faith and testimony.
"He would tell me about his past and drugs and drinking and stuff like that and how he was so thankful that god delivered him from all that," Ward said.
Hiatt reportedly admitted to authorities he was big into drugs in the '80s. He said he could have killed crane when he was 18 but didn't even remember his victim until police gave him the name. No motive has been reveled but investigators say it appeared to be a crime of passion.
"Any time something like this happened you just hope that the truth comes out and people get what they deserve if they've done it," Ward said.
Hiatt is scheduled to be extradited back to California with a $2 million bond. Court records show he has a hearing June 7.