A 47-year-old Northwest Washington man was arrested last night and charged in the Jan. 24 stabbing deaths of the 3-year-old daughter of two District police officers and the girl's 56-year-old babysitter, D.C. police officials announced.

They said Paul Leon Jordan, 47, who had lived next door to the slain woman, was charged with two counts of homicide in the deaths of young Crystin Fletcher and Cora Barnes, of 4321 Second St. NW.

The bodies of Barnes and the Fletcher child were found in a blood-splattered second-floor bedroom of the woman's home by one of her daughters. The child had also been strangled and Barnes' throat was slashed, according to the D.C. medical examiner.

The girl was the only child of 2nd District officers Cortez and Crystal Fletcher, and police had speculated that the deaths might have been connected to the officers' work.

However, police sources said last night that Barnes and Jordan apparently had an intimate relationship and that investigators believe the slayings occurred during an argument that erupted when the child began crying while Jordan and Barnes were together on the first floor of the home.

Although "many things" were missing from Barnes' home, police said at the time of the slayings that there was no sign of forced entry and that it appeared Barnes may have known her attacker.

Police officials said last night that Jordan had been questioned about the slayings previously but had not been considered a suspect at that time.

Deputy Police Chief Alfonso Gibson, head of the criminal investigations division, said Jordan's name surfaced during additional interviews with Barnes' neighbors and that he was "invited" to police headquarters yesterday afternoon for more questioning.

Gibson said Jordan had a criminal record but declined to be specific. Sources close to the investigation, however, said Jordan had been convicted previously of firt- and second-degree burglary.

For the past two months, Jordan has lived in a basement apartment at 1420 Clifton St. NW, helping out as a janitor and handyman in exchange for his lodging, according to police and residents of the building. "He didn't talk much, but mostly he talked about his mother," one building resident said.

A neighbor of Barnes described Jordan as "a withdrawn man" who "married a girl in the neighborhood."

The neighbor, George Harrod, said Jordan was married to a woman who lived at 4319 Second St. NW -- next door to Barnes' modest red-brick row house -- and that while he knew Jordan on sight, Jordan "never fraternized with anyone" nearby.

Barnes, who earned her living as a babysitter, had cared for Crystin Fletcher since the girl was 4 or 5 months old and considered her a part of her family, according to Anita Harrod.

She and other neighbors said that Barnes took care of the Fletcher child when her parents were on duty, usually five days a week. Because the Fletcher couple, both 33, worked revolving shifts, the time of day when Barnes cared for Crystin varied.

Crystal Fletcher, a 10-year member of the police force, was on duty when her daughter was killed. Cortez Fletcher, a member of the police department for 13 years, was participating in union activities with the International Brotherhood of Police Officers when the slaying occurred.