Robert Ottesen of Lakeville, Minn., made a brief court appearance Wednesday. He is being held pending extradition proceedings.
Texas investigators said that Ottesen, now 53, stabbed Francisco Narvaez, 42, on Sept. 30, 1983, in Denton, a city near Dallas, and took off in his car. Narvaez's car was later found in Oklahoma City.
Denton police officers and Texas Rangers joined local police in the arrest Tuesday at Ottesen's home.
KMSP-TV, the Fox affiliate in Minneapolis, said it learned from a source that police seized a T-shirt from the trash during a search of Ottesen's home several months ago and found DNA on it that links him to the killing.
Ottesen is married and has children.