David Amess Death: Boris Johnson ‘Deeply Shocked’ After UK Lawmaker Stabbed At Church Unsplash

Manzie Smith Jr., from Baltimore, was arrested on Dec.1 in the murder of Evelyn Player, a church sexton who was found dead inside the Southern Baptist Church in East Baltimore on Nov. 16.

Smith, 62, was charged with first-degree murder and related counts based on evidence collected from the brazen crime scene, Police Commissioner Michael Harrison told reporters at a news conference.

"Those who commit violent crimes 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." No indication was found that Smith and Player knew each other.

Player, a 69-year-old day laborer at church was found fatally stabbed. Her friends described Player as a dedicated member of the church and volunteered her time every day. She had been a church member for 50 years, said Pastor Donté Hickman.

According to WJZ, Player arrived at the church at about 6 a.m. on Nov. 16. She let in the laborers who were assisting in renovating the church, but less than an hour later, she was found stabbed to death in a bathroom inside the church, police stated.

On Dec. 1, law enforcement arrested Smith Jr. He was charged with first-degree murder. Smith's defense attorney, Warren Brown, stated to PEOPLE that he expects Smith to plead not criminally responsible, which means not guilty because of insanity.

According to his lawyer, Smith Jr worked at the church as a day laborer. He is also currently taking medication for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other mental health conditions and has no recollection of the day Player was killed.

Smith Jr appeared via video monitor during Monday's hearing. However, he remained silent. He has criminal history records since 1978 with seven convictions. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1979 for raping a woman.

Smith Jr was also convicted of rape and assault with intent to rob in 1992 and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He completed his supervised release conditions from the 1992 conviction in October 2020, one month before Player was killed.

Investigators discovered defensive wounds on Player's body. DNA evidence was also recovered from the scene and Player's body, all matched to Smith's profile in the state's DNA database.

Church altar
A retired priest stands on trial for allegedly raping a woman in her home in England 35 years ago. Photo by Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images