An 83-year-old former priest has pleaded not guilty to murder for the slaying of a South Texas teacher and ex-beauty queen more than a half century ago.

John Feit used a walker as he arrived in court Monday in Hidalgo County. He's accused of the April 1960 beating and suffocation of 25-year-old Irene Garza.

State District Judge Luis Singleterry set bond at $1 million.

Feit was returned to Texas last week from Phoenix, where he was jailed since his arrest last month after prosecutors said they had new evidence against him. The nature of that evidence hasn't been disclosed. He long had been suspected in her death.

Authorities say Feit, then 27, killed Garza after hearing her confession at a Roman Catholic church in McAllen.