Police and prosecutors are confident that Michael Bernard Small killed a woman over the weekend — they say he told them as much, and was arrested and charged.
But they just don't know the identity of the woman he killed.
Small, 45, walked early Sunday into the Police Department's Central District — adjacent to headquarters, on East Baltimore Street — where, sweating and nervous, he asked to speak with an officer in private, police wrote in court records.
When Officer Emiljana Kodra asked him what the problem was, he allegedly wrote on a piece of paper: "I think I killed someone."
He told police to go to a home in the 1900 block of E. North Ave., where officers said they checked a second-floor bedroom and found a woman on the floor, naked from the waist down and unresponsive. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say she was strangled.
Small was taken into custody, but as of late Monday, the woman's identity was still unknown. Court records say Small "did feloniously and with malice aforethought kill and murder Jane Doe."
Small appeared in court Monday, charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, among other charges. He did not speak at the hearing, and a public defender made no comment on his behalf. He was ordered held without bond.
Officials said Small had one prior conviction, for assault in a 2010 case in Anne Arundel County, in which prosecutors alleged that he attacked a longtime girlfriend in front of their two children.
In that case, the Army veteran, who served from 1987 to 1992, according to court officials, was upset that the woman wanted to call off the relationship, according to court records. He showed up at her Hanover apartment intoxicated and carrying a .22-caliber rifle, and forced sex, records show.
He was originally charged with first-degree rape, which carries the possibility of life in prison, but the victim wrote a letter contradicting part of her statement, and Small pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree assault in March 2011. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison, with 20 years suspended.
"This is not who I am … I'm no criminal," Small said, according to an article at the time in The Capital newspaper in Annapolis.
In court Monday, an official with the court's pretrial services who spoke with Small said he was homeless and had a 20-year addiction to cocaine. Small told the official that he had previously lived in the North Avenue rowhouse where the assault occurred.
Court records show police searched the home, and officers wrote that Small waived his Miranda rights and confessed to the killing.