Plea deal could be reached in slaying

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SANDPOINT — A plea agreement to resolve criminal charges could be in the offing for a Cocolalla man accused of shooting his son to death last year, 1st District Court records show.

A public defender representing James Michael Costello Sr. in a Kootenai County eluding and drunken driving case advised the court on Tuesday that a “global resolution” may be sought after a preliminary hearing in Costello’s first-degree murder case in Bonner County. That hearing, set for July 3, will determine if the state possesses sufficient evidence to justify trying him for the murder of James Michael Costello Jr.

A status conference in the Kootenai County case is scheduled for July 15.

The elder Costello, 72, remains held at the Bonner County Jail with bail set at $1 million. He is accused of shooting his son to death with a semiautomatic pistol inside the converted municipal transit bus they once shared off Cocolalla Loop Road last November.

The slaying came to light after James Costello Sr. was arrested for eluding law enforcement and driving under the influence in Kootenai County. Authorities said he made cryptic remarks about his son which prompted sheriff’s deputies to conduct a welfare check of the bus, where his son’s body was discovered.

Bonner County sheriff’s investigators contend the killing was premeditated because the elder Costello disabled a surveillance system on the bus before the shooting. Costello also allegedly gave a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol to a man, who turned it over to authorities because he believed Costello was attempting to frame him for the killing, according to court documents.

The younger Costello, who was in his early 40s at the time of his death, is described in court records as the elder Costello’s caregiver.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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