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Years-old murder shook town; new arrest causes aftershocks

A man who lost his father nearly 40 years ago may finally get closure after the man responsible for his murder has been identified.
Credit: AP
This October 2019 booking photo from the Custer County Sheriff's Office shows Walter James Mason.

BOISE, Idaho — Forty years ago, Brett Woolley’s dad was shot in the parking lot of a small-town bar in the Idaho mountains. 

The shooter crossed the street to the only other bar in town, ordered a drink and declared, “I just killed a man.” Then he disappeared. 

As days turned into years, Woolley accepted the likelihood that his father’s murderer would never be found. 

But that changed last fall when authorities arrested a former pro rodeo rider named Walter Mason in Texas. 

Lawyers say the 87-year-old may never be fit to stand trial. 

Woolley is trying again to come to terms with his father’s death and the legends that sprang up around the crime. 

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