PHOENIX (AP) — An 83-year-old Arizona man accused of murdering a Texas beauty queen when he was a young priest in 1960 waived his right to extradition Wednesday.
John Bernard Feit will be transported to Texas in the next 30 days, Maricopa County Superior Court officials said.
Feit was arrested in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale on Feb. 9 after he was indicted in south Texas' Hidalgo County for the killing of Irene Garza, a 25-year-old school teacher.
A grand jury brought the charge based on yet-to-be-disclosed evidence.
Authorities allege the then-27-year-old Feit killed Garza on April 16, 1960, after hearing her confession at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, where he was a priest.
Her body was found in a canal days later. An autopsy determined Garza, who was named Miss All South Texas Sweetheart 1958, had been raped while unconscious and was beaten and suffocated.
Feit's arrest followed other investigations over the years, including a grand jury probe in 2004 that concluded there was insufficient evidence to charge him.
He had been considered a suspect in the past, and two fellow priests told authorities Feit confessed to them.
Feit left the priesthood to marry. He joined the administrative office of the St. Vincent de Paul nonprofit agency in Phoenix in 1983 and retired in 2004.
Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez has declined to comment on what evidence was presented to the grand jury, saying in a statement that authorities would not elaborate until after the extradition process.
The Garza case became an issue in the 2014 district attorney's race. Rodriguez promised that if elected, he would re-examine the case.
"The arrest of John Feit ... is the first step in providing justice for the murder of Ms. Irene Garza," Rodriguez said in a statement. "After nearly 56 years, Ms. Garza's family and our community will finally see that justice is served."