86-year-old man busted in Texas for 1980 Idaho cold case murder

An 86-year-old suspect in a 1980 Idaho cold case murder has been arrested in Texas, where he had been hiding out under a different surname, authorities said this week.

Walter James Mason, who used the alias Walter James Allison, was discovered by Eastland County Sheriff’s deputies in central Texas on Oct. 10, Custer County Sheriff Stuart Lumpkin said in a Monday statement. His identity was confirmed by fingerprints.

Mason is accused of gunning down Daniel Mason Wooley on Sept. 22, 1980 in the parking lot of the Sports Club bar in Clayton, Lumpkin said.

Another man had suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to the shoulder, and a woman was injured by “blunt force to her face,” according to Lumpkin.

Mason, who lived and worked in the area, was deemed a suspect, and despite an extensive search by the sheriff’s office, Idaho Fish & Game — and even the FBI — he remained on the lam for 39 years, the sheriff said.

The octogenarian was transported back to Idaho Oct. 13 to await his trial for first-degree murder — for which he has entered a not guilty plea.

He is being held out of county at a secure detention facility and his trial has not yet been scheduled. Public defense attorney Dave Cannon has been appointed to represent him.

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