Elderly Man Confesses To Killing Common-Law Wife

Authorities got a call this morning from a distraught 64-year-old man, saying he had just killed the 82-year-old woman he lived with.

Their home is in Smith County at the corner of Highway 110 and County Road 46.

"I can't believe that he would actually kill her," Troy Allen, a friend of the couple, said. "He loved her very much."

Allen says he took "Buddy" off the streets and gave him a home, in exchange for helping Allen fix up properties around town.

This morning, authorities arrested the man known as "Buddy," Doyle Edwin Mason. He's charged with the murder of his common-law wife, Mary.

"She had what appeared to be several gunshot wounds to the head," Sgt. Roy Tomlin, of the Smith County Sheriff's Department, said.

"She was 82-years-old and was fixing to go home to Michigan for good, because of her health," Allen, the property owner, said. "I think he got very upset over it. He was despondent and began to drink."

Allen says the couple had been together for about 27 years and lived at the trailer home for more than a decade. He says Mason's drinking problem likely led to this tragedy.

"Buddy was a Christian person that made bad decisions," Allen said. "I think the fact that he drank way too much, and that finally, at 64, it took its toll."

Allen and authorities say Mason had suffered from delusions and would shoot at imaginary people through the kitchen window.

The couple's long-time neighbor says he never knew anything was wrong.

"I never heard her or him say anything about it," Grady Toney, who lives next door, said. "Yesterday, I believe, or the day before yesterday, he was out there working in his garage. She was a nice person. You know, we didn't always visit all that much 'cause they weren't that much on visiting. But she was a nice person."

Friends say Mary wanted to die with her children by her side in her home state of Michigan. They say Mason has a son in Houston, but the couple had no children together.

Mason's criminal record includes one arrest for DUI almost 30 years ago.