MIRAMAR, Fla. — The solving of a 37-year-old cold case involving the murder of a Hollywood bodybuilder may not be as clear-cut as initially believed, according to Miramar detectives. They are now seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the killer or killers responsible.
On October 21, 1986, 28-year-old Billy Halpern was brutally murdered in his Miramar home. His death was the first of a series of five murders that rocked the Hollywood bodybuilding community. Detectives believe that Halpern may have witnessed something he shouldn’t have, which led to his untimely demise.
For years, it was believed that the perpetrators were already behind bars. Gil Fernandez Jr., a former Miami-Dade cop, and the owner of the Apollo Gym, and his weightlifting coach, Hubert Christie, were the prime suspects. However, recent advancements in technology have allowed detectives to create DNA profiles for multiple new suspects linked to Halpern’s murder.
The Apollo Gym, a popular bodybuilding gym in Hollywood, was frequented not only by bodybuilders but also by cops and criminals. It quickly became home to a community of dedicated lifters, including some with less-than-savory reputations. The gym’s decline in reputation was further exacerbated by the series of murders, including Halpern’s and four others connected to the gym.
The dark underbelly of the gym involved drug dealing, extortion, and murder, all allegedly orchestrated by the gym’s owners, Christie and Fernandez. Witnesses were too scared to come forward and cooperate with the initial investigation, allowing the criminal activities to continue.
Fernandez was eventually convicted in the murders of three other men, while Christie also faced charges in these killings. Despite their arrests, the murders of Halpern and the others remained unresolved. Moreover, detectives believe that the subsequent murders were systematically carried out to silence potential witnesses, implying that the other victims could have been involved in Halpern’s death.
Presently, detectives are offering a reward for any information that leads to an arrest and are urging the public to come forward with any relevant details. The reopening of this cold case presents an opportunity to bring closure to the families of the victims and to solve a decades-old mystery.