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Man accused of 1980 murder not fit for trial, according to psychologist

Crime Watch

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Walter James Mason

CHALLIS — A doctor at State Hospital South says the man accused of a Custer County murder 40 years ago is not fit for trial.

Dr. Tashina Keith, the Chief of Psychology at the hospital, wrote a competency report for 86-year-old Walter James Mason. Mason allegedly shot two men in September 1980 in Clayton and took off. One of them, Daniel Mason Woolley, died in the parking lot of the Sports Club bar.

Mason, who was living under the alias Walter James Allison, was arrested on Oct. 10, 2019, in Texas.

Magistrate Judge James Barrett ordered Mason, who is charged with first-degree murder, to undergo the evaluation while committing him to State Hospital South in Blackfoot.

RELATED: 86-year-old man arrested in Texas for allegedly killing person nearly 40 years ago in Idaho

“The court hereby finds that the defendant is not fit to proceed and there is not a substantial probability that the defendant will become fit to proceed in the foreseeable future,” according to court documents filed by Barrett.

RELATED: Preliminary hearing for 1980 homicide postponed

The Custer County Prosecutors Office tells that the status of Mason’s case will be determined at a court hearing Feb. 3.

Mason remains held in the custody of the Custer County Sheriff’s Office.