Family members of Tina Faelz came to court. They sat in the front row just yards away from the man accused of murdering the 14-year-old girl in 1984.
Some of her former classmates also came. They said they always had strong suspicions about Steve Carlson.
"There was something about him from elementary school to junior high to high school; he was mean, he was a bully, he had this odd way about him, people feared him," former classmate Lorraine Vener said.
"I do hope it's very short and that they have found the perpetrator and we can put some closure to this," former classmate Sandy Bourasa said.
Carlson is charged with murdering Faelz on April 15, 1984. The 14-year-old was killed while walking home from Foothill High School. She was stabbed numerous times and left to die in a drainage culvert that once crossed underneath Interstate 680.
Carlson, then 16 years old, was a person of interest but police could never implicate him until DNA technology improved decades later.
The break came in 2007 when the FBI crime lab matched DNA evidence to Carlson, now a registered sex offender with a long rap sheet.
On Sunday, Pleasanton police took him into custody from Santa Cruz County Jail, where he had been held on drug charges.
Foothill High School still has a plaque memorializing Faelz next to a tree which was planted in her honor.
Lead investigator Lt. Jim Knox was then a police explorer and helped search for Faelz. The murder haunted him for decades.
"Very difficult to deal with something like this happening in a safe city like Pleasanton," Knox said.
Carlson will be back in court in late September. At that time, they'll start the process to transfer him to superior court to face the murder charge as an adult.