Hearing reset in Costello murder

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SANDPOINT — A preliminary hearing in the first-degree murder case against James Michael Costello Sr. was postponed on Wednesday.

Public Defender Janet Whitney moved to reset the hearing in order to give the defense additional time to review the case, court records show. Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall did not object to the continuance. Judge Justin Julian granted the motion.

The hearing, in which a judge determines if there is sufficient evidence to justify a trial in 1st District Court, is set for April 24. Costello remains held at the Bonner County Jail with bail set at $1 million.

Costello, 72, is accused of shooting his adult son to death inside the converted bus they shared in Cocolalla sometime between Nov. 10-11, 2018. The younger Costello was found dead inside the bus after the elder Costello was arrested for driving under the influence and felony eluding of law enforcement in northern Kootenai County.

Bonner County sheriff’s investigators contend the shooting was premeditated because James Costello Sr. disabled a one-camera video surveillance system prior to the shooting. A Bonner County man turned over a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol over to investigators after reading news reports of the shooting.

The man told investigators that James Costello Sr. carried the Kahr Arms .45 ACP daily and suspected he was given the pistol in an attempt to frame him for the shooting, according to a detective’s probable cause affidavit. The pistol was sent to the firearm and toolmarks section of the Idaho State Police Forensic Services lab, which determined that shell casings recovered from the bus came from the pistol turned over the investigators after the shooting, court documents indicate.

During his arrest in Kootenai County, the elder Costello was found bloodied and bruised, injuries which he said his son inflicted upon him, the police affidavit said. Friends of the men described the younger Costello as the elder’s caregiver.

A homeowner at the residence where the bus was parked told investigators that the Costellos had been arguing loudly and cursing each other out in the days leading up to the shooting

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

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