Manzie Smith Jr Baltimore
Baltimore Police have arrested Manzie Smith Jr., 62, in connection to the stabbing death of 69-year-old grandmother Evelyn Player inside Southern Baptist Church in Baltimore, Md. (Photo: Baltimore Police Department)

Police: Man Charged in Killing of Grandmother at Baltimore Church

By Associated Press

Baltimore police announced Thursday that they’ve charged a 62-year-old man in the killing of a grandmother at a church last month.

Police said the warrant apprehension task force took Manzie Smith Jr. into custody Wednesday and he was charged with first-degree murder and several other offenses in the death of Evelyn Player on Nov. 16. Smith was identified as a suspect in the case based on evidence collected on the scene, Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said at a news conference.

Smith was taken into custody on the same day as the funeral for 69-year-old Player, a church sexton who also worked custodial duties at their facilities according to WMAR. She was found stabbed to death in a bathroom at Southern Baptist Church in East Baltimore, an hour after police said she had let contractors into the building for church renovations. Reportedly, Smith had previously been convicted of rape and robbery, and had only gotten off parole in October.

A day after the slaying, Gov. Larry Hogan offered a $100,000 reward for tips leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever was responsible for her death.

“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,” Harrison said. “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.”

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Smith is being held without bail, police said. The case isn’t listed in online court records and it’s not clear if has an attorney.

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