Marvin C. Williams, the second person arrested in last week's shotgun slaying of church official Paul F. Smith, appeared yesterday at a hearing in D.C. Superior Court where he was ordered held without bond on a charge of first-degree murder while armed.
Williams, employed as a guard by a number of security firms in the Washington area since 1982, was arrested by D.C. police Wednesday in connection with the slaying of Smith, 62, the top financial officer of Gethsemane Baptist Church in Northwest Washington.
Smith, whose body was found about 7 a.m. last Friday in a Rock Creek Park picnic area, died of shotgun blasts in the back and right shoulder, according to the D.C. medical examiner's office.
Sources close to the investigation said Williams' arrest came as police were looking into allegations that as many as three persons may have been involved in a murder-for-hire plot to kill Smith, who told police recently that he suspected a deacon at Gethsemane Baptist of taking thousands of dollars in church funds. The deacon, Louis B. Sawyer, 24, has also been charged in Smith's slaying.
According to a police affidavit filed in Superior Court yesterday, Williams, 26, of 4218 31st St., Mount Rainier, told police that "he had been approached several times . . . and was asked to kill the decedent for money . . . ."
Williams had been employed the last three weeks as a guard for Security Inc. of Bethesda and had worked for similar firms in this area during the last three years, sources said.
His arrest came one day after Sawyer, of 6522 Dower House Rd., Upper Marlboro, was charged in a Superior Court warrant with felony murder. Police sources said that Sawyer and Williams were acquainted.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the arrest warrant, Sawyer told D.C. police "that he enlisted the aid of another person, [and] told this person that Mr. Smith would be leaving the church at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday night, and that he should be taken care of then."
Smith was seen leaving Gethsemane Baptist at Fourth and Hamilton streets NW about 9:30 p.m. March 14 after a meeting there with other church officials. Church clerk Gladys S. Harris, who also attended the meeting, said yesterday that Sawyer was there as well.
Smith, who for years had been responsible for the financial records of the church, apparently was abducted in or near his 1975 blue Granada soon after leaving the meeting and was shot to death in the park sometime before 1 a.m. Friday, authorities said.
Sawyer was arrested by Montgomery County police and charged with forgery Monday after a clerk at the I. Magnin clothing store in White Flint Mall notified security guards that a man was attempting to use Smith's Visa credit card to buy some shirts. He is currently being held in lieu of $100,000 bond at the county detention center.
In his job at Security Inc., sources said, Williams worked nights as a "roving security inspector," who checked on numerous downtown office buildings. They said he did not carry a gun on his job.
According to the sources, Williams reported to his job at midnight Thursday and there is a "four- or five-page log of what he did that evening" that includes the buildings he visited and the times of the visits.
He was "checked in . . . five or six minutes apart" from the time he started until he got off work at 7 a.m., the sources said. Court affidavits do not detail Sawyer's whereabouts late Thursday and early Friday.
Sawyer, who described himself to police as a self-employed religious and political speaker, organized religious support for Patricia Roberts Harris' 1982 mayoral bid and also for D.C. school board member R. Calvin Lockridge's unsuccessful City Council campaign last year.
Lockridge said yesterday he first met Sawyer, then a student at Virginia Union University, when Sawyer volunteered to help organize support in the religious community for Harris' mayoral campaign.
Sawyer, who also worked as a clerk in the office of the secretary of the District of Columbia during the summers of 1977 to 1979, subsequently offered his help to Lockridge when he ran for a City Council seat, Lockridge said.
"We who worked with him in the political arena to organize the religious community, we have been shocked in a serious way" by Sawyer's arrest, Lockridge said.
"He knew all the religious leaders in the city . . . . I don't think you could find a more perfect young man who had such potential . . . , " Lockridge said. "There are very few things that have shocked me this way."