43-Year-Old Charged in Juvenile Court for 1984 Slaying

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43-year-old juvenile offender Steven John Carlson

Steven John Carlson (Megan's Law Database - California's sex offender database)

Steven John Carlson (Megan's Law Database - California's sex offender database)

A 43-year-old man faces charges in a California juvenile court for the murder of a 14-year-old classmate more than two decades ago.

Steven John Carlson was arrested this week and charged with the 1984 death of Tina Faelz, a fellow student at Foothill High School in Pleasanton, Cali., near Oakland. Faelz was found stabbed to death on April 5, 1984 in a drainage culvert she used to cross under the freeway on her way home from school.

Carlson, a recent parolee and registered sex-offender, was processed in juvenile court because he was 16 at the time of the crime. A hearing will be necessary before he can face adult charges.

“I have not seen this before,” Aundrea Brown, Carlson’s public defender, told San Jose Mercury News. “I have not seen a 43-year-old [defendant] in juvenile court.”

In the years following Faelz’s death hopes of catching the killer faded, but technology continued to improve. Last week, authorities said, a DNA match pointed to Carlson -– a long-time suspect in the case.

Initially, Pleasanton Police Chief David Spiller declined to release the suspect’s name citing the fact he was a minor in 1984, according to the San Francisco Gate. But the paper trail of his adult criminal activity quickly led Gate journalists to his identity.

“The best way to discuss reaction to this murder was purely shock,” Spiller told the Gate. “The brutal murder of this 14-year-old freshman made the people of Pleasanton look at the world entirely different that day.”

Carlson didn’t seem surprised when he was arrested following his release from the Santa Cruz County Jail, Spiller told the Gate, where he had been incarcerated on unrelated charges since last December. According to county records, Carlson was arrested more than half a dozen times last year in Santa Cruz County.

Carlson is being held without bail. He cannot be housed at the juvenile justice facility, according to a report from Mercury News.

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