An ex-convict on parole from a 20-year manslaughter conviction was arrested early yesterday in a city rowhouse and formally accused of killing Sister MaryAnn Glinka, the Franciscan nun found strangled and sexually assaulted in a Northeast Baltimore convent Friday.
Melvin Lorenzo Jones, 34, who has a criminal history of burglary and escape, was found hiding behind a cabinet about 1:15 a.m. in an upstairs bedroom of a house in the 1900 block of Perlman Place.
Jones was released from prison this year in North Carolina, and was expected to return to Maryland for supervision of his parole. But state officials, expecting Jones in February, say he never checked in with parole officers.
Nancy J. Nowak, chief of parole and probation for Maryland, has ordered a review of the Jones case. Parole officials have no record that any warrant was filed for Jones' arrest after he failed to report in Maryland.
A tip to police led detectives to the house on Perlman Place, off East North Avenue. Jones was unarmed, and put up no fight, police said.
Jones was denied bail by an Eastern District court commissioner on charges of first-degree murder and burglary. A bail review is set for this morning at Eastside District Court, at 1400 E. North Ave.
Several people with knowledge of the investigation said Sister MaryAnn had been sexually assaulted and that her undergarments had been removed. Those sources also said that fresh fingerprints linking Jones to the slaying were found on a box of Russell Stover chocolates at the convent.
Police would not comment on those reports.
Investigators do not believe that anyone witnessed the attack.
At his bail hearing, an angry Jones -- 5 feet 9 inches tall, 160 pounds and shackled at the ankles -- berated a court official for allowing reporters to be present.
"This is my life," he said. "I object. Don't I have some say in this, too?"
The court commissioner answered, "This is my hearing. They have a right to be here."
At one point the suspect stood up, as if to leave, declaring, "I'm not going to say nothing else." Police ordered him back to his seat.
Wearing the same black-and-gray sweater, faded gray jeans and olive shoes as when he was arrested, Jones was silent when the commissioner asked if he had a drug problem. He said he wanted to call his mother after the hearing. As he was led back to his cell, he refused to answer a reporter's questions.
Reached by telephone yesterday at her Northeast Baltimore home, Jones' mother, who would not give her name, said, "He's innocent. They made a mistake. I'm standing by him because I love him."
In October 1978, a 19-year-old Jones was indicted in Guilford County, N.C., in the death of Harold Linwood Barrier. North Carolina officials extradited him from Baltimore to stand trial on the murder charge. He pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 20 years.
Yesterday afternoon, at the rowhouse where Jones had been captured, a woman in a print dress leaned out of an upstairs window. She said she was a friend of Jones, but would not talk about him.
"This is getting sickening, you know?" she said, slamming the window shut.
Police gave Jones' last address as a well-kept brick rowhouse with a black metal awning in the 1600 block of E. 32nd St., a half block from City College.
A sign in the window yesterday read: "GO AWAY!! NO COMMENTS!!"