Spotify recently premiered a brand new true-crime investigative podcast about an infamous murder case with Hollywood connections. The addicting new show called Son of a Hitman takes us deep into the story of Charles Harrelson, who was sentenced to life for his connection to the murder of U.S. District Judge John H. Wood Jr. in 1979.
Son Of A Hitman is hosted by investigative journalist Jason Cavanagh and will tell the bizarre story across 10 episodes. The podcast delves into the three murder cases connected to Harrelson, including the Federal judge and the deaths of Alan Berg and Sam Degelia. Throughout the series, it also touches on conspiracies around the assassination of JFK and covert CIA missions.
Charles Harrelson is the father of famous A-List Hollywood star Woody Harrelson, whose credits include hit films such as Zombieland, Semi-Pro, Now You See Me, and of course the Hunger Games. The story of the podcast starts only a few short years before he made his first big break as the bartender on the beloved TV sitcom Cheers.
While Woody Harrelson himself didn’t participate in the making of the podcast, the episodes do feature exclusive interviews with other Harrelson family members, including Woody’s brothers Brett and Jordan as well as FBI chief prosecutor Ray Jahn, private investigator Brad Thompson, Charles’ cousin, Nadine Harrelson and a nephew of the gangster who allegedly masterminded Wood’s slaying.
In the first few episodes, we get a background on the story of Charles Harrison, learning about his character, the court case, his love for guns and hear about his gambling skills. One of the interviewees recalls him “as an outright psychopath… a cold-blooded killer.” While his son Brett reveals that he has conflicting feelings about Charles: “I looked up to him, ya know… I wish I could know all he has done.”
With many inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case and only circumstantial evidence, the case was by no means clear cut which makes it even more of an interesting story to follow. The investigation was one of the most expensive in the history of the FBI and there was a big motive for the investigators to pin this crime on someone. Among the issues, Harrelson was convicted based on witness testimony that was produced under hypnosis and no weapon was actually proved to be linked to the murder.
“It’s important for me to expose the magnitude of how corrupt this trial was and how my father, Charles Harrelson, didn’t receive a fair trial,” says Brett, who has questions about his father’s guilt.