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Crime News Breaking News

Maryland Dad Sentenced To Life For Murder Of Wife That He Tried To Blame On Panhandler

Keith Smith was convicted in December of stabbing his wife to death in their car in front of the couple's daughter, an attack he first tried to blame on a homeless man.

By Dorian Geiger
Keith Tyrone Smith Pd

A Maryland man who insisted his wife was fatally stabbed during a botched robbery involving a panhandler has been sentenced to life in prison for her killing, according to officials.

Keith Tyrone Smith, 55, was convicted in December in the 2018 deadly knife attack of his spouse, Jacquelyn Anne Smith. Keith Smith, who claimed his 54-year-old wife was murdered after giving $10 to a panhandler, was ultimately convicted after his own daughter confessed his police statement was a “hoax.”

Valeria Smith, his daughter, previously pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact in her mother's murder. She was sentenced to five years in prison.

“Keith Smith will now justly serve a life sentence in prison for violently stabbing his wife to death and then creating an elaborate cover-up plan to cowardly blame panhandlers for his horrific attack,” State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said in a statement. “My victim advocates will continue to support Ms. Jacquelyn Smith’s family as they mourn the devastating loss of their loved one.”

Shortly after midnight on Dec. 1, 2018, Baltimore police officers responded to John Hopkins Hospital after reports of a stabbing. Upon arrival, investigators learned that Jacquelyn Smith had been brought to the medical facility by her husband with multiple stab wounds, and the 54-year-old engineer was later pronounced dead.

An autopsy revealed that Jacquelyn Smith had been stabbed five times in the chest and sustained a cut to her lower right arm. Her death was subsequently ruled a homicide.

Under questioning, Keith Smith told detectives his wife was attacked by a stranger who stabbed her a number of times after she gave cash to a woman panhandling on the street. 

He claimed he and his wife were driving in the 1000 block of Valley Street in north Baltimore with his daughter, Valeria Smith, when they saw a women panhandler holding a baby.

Keith Smith, who was operating the vehicle, said he pulled over at his wife’s request and she supposedly then handed the homeless woman $10 through the passenger window. He claimed that a man with the panhandler then stabbed Jacquelyn Smith several times through her open window, snatched her necklace and wallet and fled the scene with the woman panhandler.

Valeria Smith Pd

Authorities, however, determined that the Maryland father had invented both the panhandler and knife-wielding assailant. His daughter, Valeria Smith, told investigators the story was a “hoax” and ultimately admitted to witnessing her father stab her mother to death in Druid Hill Park near a zoo. 

According to prosecutors, Valeria Smith’s cell phone data — including geographical coordinates — also discounted her father’s version of events. Electronic records confirmed the three were in Druid Hill Park at the time of Jacquelyn Smith’s murder, not in north Baltimore on Valley Street.

Smith’s daughter Valeria agreed to testify against her father in exchange for a lesser charge. 

Jacquelyn Smith worked as an electrical engineer at Aberdeen Proving Ground, a U.S. Army research facility roughly 37 miles northeast of Baltimore, the Baltimore Sun reported. Loved ones described Smith as “loving,” “giving”, “intelligent” and “witty,” according to an obituary.

The Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City didn’t immediately reply to Oxygen.com’s request for comment regarding the case on Tuesday afternoon.