Man Who Claimed a Baltimore Panhandler Killed His Wife Before He Fled for Mexico Goes on Trial

1 year ago 132

By Tim Prudente
From The Baltimore Sun

BALTIMORE—Even successful a metropolis hardened to senseless violence, the sidesplitting of Jacquelyn Smith was shocking.

The 54-year-old technologist astatine Aberdeen Proving Ground was stabbed successful her thorax portion driving with her hubby and stepdaughter done a desolate agelong of East Baltimore 3 years ago. Her hubby told constabulary Jacquelyn had passed $10 retired the model to a mates panhandling with a baby, but that they snatched her necklace, stole the wallet from her thigh and stabbed her repeatedly.

Her hubby drove her to a infirmary and told constabulary Jacquelyn was fatally wounded during an enactment of charity—three weeks earlier Christmas 2018, nary less. The transgression alarmed radical crossed the country. “This communicative struck my heart. I’ve done this a 1k times. But volition deliberation doubly earlier ever doing again,” Oprah Winfrey wrote online astir Jacquelyn’s enactment of charity.

Only detectives recovered nary of it was true.

Jacquelyn’s husband, Keith T. Smith, allegedly carried retired the transgression and concocted the tale, fooling everyone agelong capable to astir scope the U.S. borderline with Mexico. His execution proceedings is scheduled to statesman Wednesday successful Baltimore Circuit Court.

Jacquelyn’s older brother, Marcel Trisvan, has waited 3 years for him to basal trial.

“It’s been without closure, you know?” helium said Monday. “I’m inactive not feeling similar my sister is astatine bid yet with each this lingering; it’s really beauteous haunting.”

Smith, 55, a tractor-trailer driver, faces counts of first-degree execution and a weapons charge. A first-degree execution condemnation brings a maximum punishment of beingness successful prison. Smith served astir six years successful situation successful the aboriginal 2000s for robbing a Timonium slope with a pellet gun.

His defence lawyer successful the homicide case, Natalie Finegar, declined to comment, arsenic did prosecutors.

His daughter, Valeria Smith, 31, admitted successful September 2019 to a relation successful the cover-up. She pleaded blameworthy to acting arsenic an accessory aft a execution and faces 10 years successful prison. She’s to beryllium sentenced Dec. 13—after her father’s trial. Under her plea deal, she is to attest against him.

Valeria Smith recorded rap songs, worked arsenic a boutique cashier, and founded a publishing company, Purple Press LLC. In immoderate of her past posts online earlier the killing, she touted a caller merchandise of her euphony that she called “Shalavou—Egyptian Goddess Blood.”

Days aft Jacquelyn’s death, Keith and Valeria Smith held each different and cried earlier the media.

“I’m going to fto the satellite cognize my woman didn’t dice successful vain,” Keith Smith said. “I privation to effort and get a instrumentality passed against this epidemic of these radical retired present begging for wealth and getting successful adjacent proximity of your car. … You don’t cognize whether oregon not you’re going to springiness and this person’s going to instrumentality your beingness oregon they’re going to say, ‘Thank you.’”

His communicative played connected feelings of unease toward panhandlers successful Baltimore, a metropolis that’s agelong debated what to bash astir those who solicit wealth connected thoroughfare corners and the boys and young men who squeegee windshields astatine postulation lights. Advocates for Baltimore’s stateless disquieted the transgression would frighten drivers from giving—or worse, provoke confrontations.

“This assertion was made and past abruptly determination was outright fearfulness of susceptible radical connected the street,” Kevin Lindamood, president and CEO of Health Care for the Homeless, said astatine the time.

Even arsenic quality photos and videos dispersed of the seemingly grief-stricken Smiths, detectives worked to unravel their account. Keith Smith had told officers the 3 celebrated Valeria’s day that nighttime astatine an American Legion station earlier heading location to Aberdeen.

Police recovered footage from 27 surveillance cameras connected their described way and recovered nary motion of the car, detectives wrote successful charging documents. Cellphone signals placed the Smiths successful Druid Hill Park for 15 unexplained minutes, detectives wrote.

Police interviewed radical who lived adjacent the expected transgression country and learned panhandlers weren’t seen astir there. The communicative of a middle-of-the-night panhandler successful desolate East Baltimore didn’t marque sense, wrote Michael Moran, the pb detective.

“Based connected my training, knowledge, and experience, panhandlers typically panhandle successful well-traveled and heavy populated areas during times of the time that would beryllium astir lucrative,” helium wrote successful charging documents.

Furthermore, transgression country technicians recovered nary fingerprints of a fishy connected the extracurricular of the Smiths’ achromatic Audi. Detectives searched stateless shelters, but recovered nary 1 matching the Smiths’ description. In 1 constabulary interview, Keith Smith said the pistillate panhandler wore a bluish jacket; successful different interview, helium said a brownish jacket.

When detectives asked Valeria Smith astir the 15 minutes successful Druid Hill Park, she asked for an attorney. Keith Smith near municipality and moved to cardinal Florida aft officers asked him astir it.

“Immediately upon completion of the interview, Mr. Smith got into a rental motortruck and drove to Winter Haven, Florida, wherever helium requested to beryllium relocated by his job,” wrote Moran, the detective.

Two months aft Jacquelyn’s killing, an unidentified source—police did not sanction him oregon her successful charging documents—told detectives Keith Smith had tried to solicit his member to termination Jacquelyn. The member told detectives that Jacquelyn had been talking astir divorcing Keith.

Meanwhile, constabulary wiretapped Keith’s cellphone successful Florida. They heard his member telephone and pass Keith that helium was being questioned by police. Detectives monitored the telephone arsenic Keith tried to publication one-way tickets to Cuba and Canada, but helium didn’t person a passport, according to the charging documents.

Then Keith rented a car and took disconnected with Valeria successful March 2019. Authorities sent retired an alert for the pair. Texas authorities troopers arrested them astatine a state presumption 20 minutes from the Mexican border.

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