The Marines were looking for a few good men when they signed up George Kalomeris, 23, of Silver Spring.
The Prince George's County police were looking for a murder suspect when they arrested the new recruit five days later as he waited for a plane to take him to boot camp.
Kalomeris went to a recruiting station in Silver Spring last Wednesday and told the recruiter he wanted to join the Marines and go on active duty as soon as possible, Marine officials said. After signing several statements that he had no criminal record, going through physical and psychological examinations and personal interviews, he was inducted into the Marines that day.
After sending a routine background check to the local police, Marine officials received a telephone call Monday from Prince George's police seeking information about Kalomeris, a suspect in a Nov. 14 murder. They were told he was leaving for boot camp within hours.
Several police officers rushed to the Armed Forces Induction Center in Elkridge, Md., where Kalomeris was to catch a flight to boot camp at Parris Island, S.C.
"Uh-oh, looks like I'm in trouble," Kalomeris said, according to witnesses
How Kalomeris slipped by the Marine induction process is a tale that Marine recruiters were still puzzling over yesterday.
According to officials, Marine recruits sometimes are persons attempting to escape personal problems at home, or legal entanglements, but a Marine spokesman said he could not remember anyone enlisting who was a murder suspect.
"We just went through the normal process," Maj. Collin C. Roberts, a Marine Corps recruiting commander, said.
But he admitted "it immediately makes you a little suspicious when somebody walks off the street, particularly if they want to get out of town quick."
Police allege that Kalomeris, of 407 Scott Dr., shot Arnold twice in the head and then sought to elude police by hiding at a friend's home and eventually the Best Western Royal Pines Motel in College Park.
The police and Marines are at odds about how Kalomeris was captured. The Marines say their letter prompted police to call them and led to the arrest. Police say that they independently tracked Kalomeris to the Marines.
Once the Marines were aware Kalomeris was a suspect in the murder they let him continue normal activities, officials said.
"We didn't want him to skate out of here, or pull out a gun and start shooting somebody." Roberts said.
When the police arrived, Kalomeris was called out of the mess hall where he was having lunch and taken to a separate office and arrested. He was charged with first-degree murder and was sent to the Prince George's County detention center, where he was held without bond.
The Marine recruiters said yesterday they were taking steps to change Kalomeris' status.
"He will be discharged from the Marine Corps," Roberts said.