DJs to Pay $12,000 Sheriff’s Cost of Investigating Murder Confession Hoax
BURBANK, Calif. (AP) _ Three radio station disc jockeys will personally pay the $12,170 cost of a sheriff’s homicide investigation that began after an on-air murder confession that was revealed as a hoax months later.
Kevin Ryder, Gene ″Bean″ Baxter and Doug Roberts of KROQ-FM broadcast the hoax in June 1990. Roberts portrayed an anonymous caller who confessed he found his girlfriend with another man and killed her.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department began investigating the next day and received 400 tips after the call-in confession was re-enacted on the ″Unsolved Mysteries″ television show.
The hoax was disclosed in April and the three disc jockeys were later suspended without pay for six days.
KROQ attorney Steven Lerman said the three DJs will share the restitution costs.
Each will also perform 149 hours of community service - the number of hours that sheriff’s Sgt. John Yarborough spent investigating the case.
″They’ve been humiliated, they’ve had to apologize on the air, they’ve been suspended without pay,″ Lerman said. ″Short of termination, I don’t know what else we can do to them.″
The restitution was disclosed in KROQ’s response to a Federal Communication Commission demand for an explanation of the hoax.
The FCC inquiry is the first step in an enforcement process that could result in fines or license revocation for the station, which is owned by New York-based Infinity Broadcasting Corp.
Infinity President Mel Karmazin said in the FCC statement that station management did not know about the hoax.
FCC attorney Roger Holberg said that officials will review the material submitted by the station and then decide whether to move ahead with penalties or fines.