An 86-year-old Texas man has been arrested in connection with a murder that took place almost four decades ago in a town nearly 1,500 miles from his current residence.
Walter James Mason was taken into custody by sheriff's deputies in Eastland County, Texas, earlier this month, according to the Abilene Reporter-News.
Mason, who was living under the alias Walter James Allison, was positively identified via his fingerprints and tied to a crime that took place 39 years ago in Clayton, Idaho. The 86-year-old was then taken back to Idaho — a journey of nearly 1,500 miles — where he is now awaiting trial for first-degree murder.
The alleged murder, which took place on Sept. 22, 1980, involved an altercation at a sports bar between Mason and a man named Daniel Mason Woolley.
The Reporter-News reported that Mason was asked to leave the bar that night after he assaulted his wife. He was escorted out by a bartender and the latter's son, both of whom he began fighting with in the parking lot. Woolley, who was described as a friend of Mason's, then came outside to intervene, fighting with the bartender's son as Mason left the scene.
Mason later returned to the parking lot armed with two guns. It was then that he allegedly shot Woolley in the head — for an unknown reason — and began firing at other people gathered in the area.
Following the incident, Mason reportedly walked across the street to another bar, ordered a drink, then left before police arrived.
CNN reported that Mason was considered a prime suspect since he both lived and worked in the area. The Custer County Sheriff's Office, the FBI and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game all began a search, but they were unable to find him.
Mason is now awaiting trial in a secure detention facility in Custer County, Idaho. The Idaho Falls Post Register reported that the 86-year-old has pleaded not guilty.