Edwin Hiatt walked into the Burke County courthouse Monday for what could be the last time.
Hiatt, 52, was charged in May with murder in the 1985 Los Angeles killing of Barry Crane, a producer and director known for his work on episodes of “The Incredible Hulk,” “Wonder Woman,” and “Hawaii 5-0.”
Court documents filed in May said Crane’s naked body was found at his home wrapped in sheets, and that he had been beaten to death with a large ceramic statue and strangled with a telephone cord in his home on July 5, 1985. A May release from Los Angeles Police Department said Hiatt confessed to the killing.
Hiatt was connected to the crime after DNA on cigarette butts and a disposable coffee cup left in the parking lot of the auto shop where he was working matched DNA found on five cigarette butts recovered from the ashtray of Crane’s stolen vehicle, the court documents said.
Hiatt had been in custody in Burke County since he was arrested May 9, awaiting his extradition hearing. He was served with a governor’s warrant ordering he be handed over to authorities in California.
Hiatt declined to comment when he was walked out of the courtroom Monday.
One of Hiatt’s friends, Ernest “Sonny” Ward, said they would be left in the dark once Hiatt got to California.
“We’re really not going to have a clue on anything unless he tells us there,” Ward said.
He said Hiatt’s attorney shared some of the reasons why LAPD said Hiatt confessed to the crime, but he wasn’t sure what he could say.
“I’d say that if he did have something to do with it, it was still a defense,” Ward said. “How they determine to take it, or push it out or prolong it, I think on the defense the idea on his behalf they should try to sit there and help him too, but I don’t see that happening.”
Another friend, Dee Hall, agreed that if Hiatt were involved, it would have been in self-defense.
“It was self-defense,” Hall said. “We’re not at liberty to say what happened. We don’t know exactly, just what little bit Ed has said to us in the past. But that’s his place, that’s his story to tell, not ours.”
Hall said she’s concerned whether or not Hiatt would receive his medication when he gets to California, and said that they have struggled getting his medications to him while he was held in Burke County.
“I just don’t want him to sit somewhere and die, you know?” Hall said.
Ward, Hall and her husband have attended all of Hiatt’s court dates in Burke County. They said it’s hard to see their friend go through this.
“He has an innocence to him,” Ward said. “Not that he’s guilty, you know? Self-defense. I think you need to have someplace where that is at least looked at and how you do that … if that never gets seen, you’re just trying to get a conviction.”
Hiatt has been reaching fellow inmates in jail through Bible studies, with Hall saying that the Lord has been using him.
“We’re praying,” Hall said. “God knows what happened and he’s ultimately in charge of the whole thing. We’ll just continue to pray that the Lord will continue to get this thing straightened out, bring him home and use him while he’s in there.”