A 62-year-old male ex-convict was charged Thursday, Dec. 2, for killing an elderly woman in a Baltimore church last month.
The Christian Headlines said Baltimore police arrested Manzie Smith, Jr. for the first-degree murder of 69-year-old Evelyn Player last Nov. 16. Smith was also charged with additional offenses for Player's death when he was arrested on Wednesday, Dec. 1.
As previously reported here in Christianity Daily, Player, an employee of the Southern Baptist Church in East Baltimore, was found lifeless in the bathroom of her work area an hour after letting contractors in the building. The said contractors were doing renovation work and Player had to come to work earlier to assist them. Player was stabbed to death.
Initial investigations showed no clues on who the suspect was until after Maryland Governor Larry Hogan offered a $100,000 reward on information leading to the actual arrest of Player's murderer.
Baltimore Police Commander Michael Harrison said in a statement that Player's death was truly "shocking" since it was done in "a house of worship."
"As I have said before, and will say it again, those who commit violent crime in our city will be caught, and they will be held accountable. While we are all affected by all murders, the fact that this one occurred in a house of worship made it more shocking to the conscience," Harrison remarked.
Fox 25 News reported that Harrison was arrested based on DNA evidence gathered on the scene by the Baltimore City Police. Though Harrison disclosed that they are still determining Smith's motives for killing Player.
"There was evidence collected on the scene and through science and good work it led to Mr. Smith, enough for us to have probable cause to get a warrant for his arrest," Harrison disclosed.
"There's no information right now to support there was a relationship between the suspect and the victim," he added.
Accordingly, Smith has a long history of violence against women dating to 1979, including the rape of a 19-year-old which got him convicted. Smith was convicted of rape again in 1992, and he paid for this in prison for three decades.
In 2012, Smith assaulted a 64-year-old woman before stealing her purse. This gave him 8 years of imprisonment but he was put on parole and supervised release a month before Player was murdered.
Thiru Vignaraiah, a former federal prosecutor, told Fox 25 News that Smith's long and repeated criminal history shows the correctional system is defective since those who undergo it--though a "relatively small group of violent repeat offenders"--continue to be a "threat to society."
"A career criminal with multiple convictions for sex offenses for robbery that's committing the same kinds of crimes but he's actually escalating," Vignarajah emphasized.
"The system is not working. This is a person who was supposed to be rehabilitated, who is supposed to be improving in terms of not being a threat to society. Plainly, that's not happening," he added.
The Associated Press highlighted that Smith is imprisoned with no bail and online records do not even reflect his arrest, as well as, no indication is given if he has a legal counsel to represent him in court.
Meanwhile, Player was put to rest on Wednesday that was attended by Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott. Player's daughter and those who attended recalled Player as a loving woman with a kind soul and a "marvelous woman of God."