A suspect in the 1976 slaying of a University of Maryland sophomore, initially thought to be in custody elsewhere on another charge, was found this week to be free and living in the District of Columbia. He surrendered yesterday after three days of negotiations with police.

George Dewey Robinson, 30, was indicted in Prince George's County Monday in the shooting death of 19-year-old Annette Nee. Police said he was serving a sentence for burglary in a federal prison in Kentucky.

In fact, Robinson had been paroled in September and that information had not been placed in the police computer. Investigators learned that Robinson was free shortly before the evening television news broadcasts Monday and rushed to a relative's house hoping to arrest him before the news of his indictment was broadcast, but failed.

Police said Robinson called D.C. Fugitive Squad detectives at 6:30 Wednesday to say he was ready to turn himself in, but failed to show up for an arranged meeting. Robinson then made several calls over the next two days, finally turning himself in to Dets. John Walsh and Paul Ludwig at 11:20 a.m. yesterday. He was freed under $1,000 bond pending an extradition hearing Feb. 25.

A second suspect in Nee's slaying, James Settles Jr., 29, is in St. Elizabeth's Hospital on a charge of attempting to murder a police officer, according to investigators.

Nee was slain in her apartment near the University's College Park campus.

Police said they believe robbery was the motive.