Suspect denied bail Jones defiant, insists on his innocence

March 23, 1993|By Joe Nawrozki and Michael James | Joe Nawrozki and Michael James,Staff Writers

A Baltimore District Court judge ordered a defiant Melvin Lorenzo Jones, the ex-convict charged with killing Sister MaryAnn Glinka, to remain jailed without bail pending his trial.

Judge Keith E. Mathews ordered Mr. Jones remanded to the state Division of Correction yesterday before the suspect embarked on a brief tirade against the media and on his innocence.

"The media has fabricated me as some kind of animal," Mr. Jones said while handcuffed to another prisoner in an Eastside District courtroom during a bail review hearing for Mr. Jones and 13 other suspects in unrelated criminal cases.

"I did some time in North Carolina but I am not no kind of animal. . . . I'm innocent of all charges," Mr. Jones told the judge.

His angry demeanor was similar to that which he displayed Sunday when he was denied bail by an Eastern District Court commissioner, whom he berated for allowing reporters to be present at the hearing.

Among those present yesterday was a homeless man, Edward Gray, 62, who sat among a crowd of spectators and clutched an orange knit cap and mumbled about Mr. Jones under his breath. He drew a warning from Judge Mathews to remain quiet during the proceeding.

Mr. Gray said later in a corridor outside the courtroom that he knew Sister MaryAnn from his visits to her Franciscan convent in the 3700 block of Ellerslie Ave. in Ednor Gardens.

"I didn't have a shelter in those days, and I visited her three times," Mr. Gray said. "Each time, she gave me a week's supply of groceries and something to eat right there from the kitchen. That woman was a guardian angel."

Sources have told The Sun that Sister MaryAnn had been sexually assaulted by her killer and that her undergarments had been removed. Those sources also said fresh fingerprints linking Mr. Jones to the slaying were found on a box of Russell Stover chocolates in the con- vent.

Police said that Mr. Jones, 34, was arrested early Sunday hiding behind a cabinet in an upstairs bedroom of a house in the 1900 block of Perlman Place, off the 2200 block of E. North Ave. He was not armed and did not resist arrest, police said.

Mr. Jones has spent about 11 of the last 14 years in prisons both in Maryland and North Carolina, for offenses ranging from burglary to manslaughter.

Maryland and North Carolina corrections officials said yesterday that Mr. Jones had finished serving all his criminal sentences and that there was no indication that errors were made in the handling of his case.

Initial reports indicated that Mr. Jones had been paroled from a North Carolina prison sometime after January 1991. Yesterday, Patty McQuillan, a spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Correction, said Mr. Jones was released Feb. 17 of this year after he earned merit points for good behavior, qualifying him for mandatory release. Jones served a total of nearly 10 years of an 18- to 20-year sentence for manslaughter.

"This was not a parole. . . . He left our prison a free man. He had maxed-out his sentence," Ms. McQuillan said.

Leonard A. Sipes, a Maryland corrections spokesman, said Mr. Jones did not owe Maryland any prison time at the time of his arrest. Mr. Jones' parole in Maryland officially expired Feb. 11 of this year, Mr. Sipes said.

Mr. Sipes said Maryland corrections officials received a letter yesterday from their North Carolina counterparts, advising: "As this subject does not owe North Carolina any time, please discontinue your interest in this case."

In Maryland, inmates can earn up to 15 days of diminution credits, or merit points, each month, or 20 days if convicted after Oct. 1 of this year, when guidelines were changed.

But in North Carolina, inmates can earn 30 days or more each month, according to a corrections manual. That state's policy ranks as one of the most lenient in the nation; only seven other states allow inmates to earn diminution credits so quickly, corrections officials said.

Mr. Jones was able to earn the good behavior credits in North Carolina in spite of the fact that he had once escaped from jail -- returning to Baltimore for four years -- and in spite of 33 prison rule violations which involved fighting, making obscene gestures and possession of contraband.

"Most of the violations were at the front end of his time served," Ms. McQuillan said.

In 1987, sisters at the Franciscan convent in Baltimore recall, Mr. Jones worked on the property as part of a team of contracted workers. He helped install an elevator and did some painting, they said.

In 1989, he was arrested shortly after several break-ins at the convent and charged with burglary and theft, court records show. But those charges were later dropped when he was convicted on other burglary charges.

After serving 14 months in a Maryland jail, he was returned to North Carolina Oct. 4, 1990, to serve the rest of his sentence in that state.

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