IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — A judge has suspended a cold case trial after concerns about the mental and physical health of the 86-year-old defendant.
The Post Register Thursday that Magistrate Judge James Barrett found Walter Mason lacked fitness to proceed in the trial.
Court officials say the decision delays a case that was on hold for about 40 years.
Officials say Custer County prosecutors charged Mason with murder in September 1980 days after authorities suspect he fatally shot a man over a relationship dispute.
Mason was arrested October of this year in Texas.
His attorney David Cannon didn’t return a request for comment.
Officials say Mason is in custody at the state Department of Health for up to 90 days.
Mason could face up to life imprisonment or be given the death penalty.
Information from: Post Register,