A Camden man charged with murder in the 2012 stabbing of a homeless woman was ordered held on $2 million bail Friday.
The arraignment of Tino Cruz, 32, marked the initial court proceeding in the first solved case credited to Camden's recently formed Cold Case Unit.
Assistant Prosecutor Christopher St. John said in court that two witnesses cooperated with investigators, and another source told officials that Cruz had admitted killing Georgianna Jedrzejewski, 55.
Jedrzejewski, an Air Force veteran, was known in the neighborhood as the "Cat Lady" because she cared for stray cats. Two teary-eyed family members declined to be interviewed after the hearing Friday.
The killing occurred about 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 10, 2012, on the 800 block of Tulip Street in South Camden. It followed a dispute over a bottle of liquor, officials said.
A medical examiner noted eight separate stab wounds, apparently inflicted with a pocketknife, St. John said.
The cold case team - made up of two current Camden County Police Department detectives and two retired veterans of the Camden County Prosecutor's Office - was given 10 cases when it was initiated in March.
"I knew there were witnesses that saw it," Lt. Frank Falco of the Prosecutor's Office homicide unit said Friday of the Jedrzejewski case. "It's a matter of getting them to . . . speak about what happened."
St. John, in requesting $2 million bail, said Cruz had fled to Florida to avoid a five-year sentence on separate gun charges.
He was arrested by U.S. marshals in Jacksonville in July and charged in connection with the homicide, one of a record 67 in Camden in 2012.
"It's a historic day, in my opinion," cold case Detective Bob Chew said after the arraignment.
Friday also marked his last day with the unit, Chew said. He has been promoted to sergeant with the department's Neighborhood Response Team.