PHOENIX (KSAZ) - "I was shocked, I couldn't believe it, I'm like 'Wow, that guy, that elderly man that lives across from us?'"
Jeffery Lake and other neighbors weren't the only ones in disbelief that John Feit was arrested for the 1960 murder of Irene Garza. At his initial court appearance, the 83-year-old didn't believe it himself.
"I'm totally puzzled why something is coming up now after the fact," Feit said during his court appearance.
The former Catholic priest from Texas has long been the main suspect in the death of Garza, but in 2004, a grand jury heard the case and decided not to indict Feit. Now, a new district attorney has reopened the case and says there's new evidence to proceed.
Joelle Casteix of Snap says whatever the reason for re-examining the case, it's never too late for justice to be served.
"Prosecutors and investigators are always going after these cases with as many resources as they can find, because you know, since there is no statue of limitations, they have a lot of power to be able to take criminals off the street where they can't with other crimes such as child sexual abuse, robbery, things like that," she said.
Even though it's 56 years after 25-year-old Garza was last seen alive attending confession with Feit and later her body discovered in a canal, Casteix says a resolution to this case could finally mean closure for Garza's loved ones.
"For family members of crime victims, whether they be child sex abuse victims or murder victims or whatever, to be able to heal and be able to move forward, you have to know that wrong doers are punished and that people are held accountable," she said. "That's apart of human nature and fortunately we have law enforcement to help us do that."
Feit chose to fight extradition to Texas in court on Wednesday. His bond is set for $750,000 cash and his next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 24.