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Husband, Stepdaughter Accused of Killing Woman, Blaming Panhandler

Baltimore pair arrested near Mexico border
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2019 2:31 AM CST
Updated Mar 4, 2019 4:44 AM CST
Police say Keith Smith reported the killing Dec. 1, claiming a panhandler had killed his wife.   (Wikimedia Commons/GoBlue85)
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(Newser) – After Keith Smith and daughter Valeria Smith told police that a panhandler fatally stabbed Keith Smith's wife, Jacquelyn Smith, panhandlers nationwide faced increased suspicion. Police now believe the real killers were Keith and Valeria Smith. They were arrested Sunday in Texas, near the US-Mexico border, and charged with first-degree murder in the December stabbing death of the 52-year-old woman, Fox reports. Keith Smith, 54, told police on Dec. 1 that his 28-year-old daughter was in the back seat and Jacquelyn Smith was in the front seat when she gave money to a woman with an infant begging at a Baltimore intersection.

Smith claimed that after his wife rolled down her window, a man arrived, tried to steal her wallet, and stabbed her before running off with the panhandler. Officials including Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh slammed the Smiths for using the city's reputation for violence to try to cover up their crime, the Baltimore Sun reports. "To now learn that family members staged this brutal killing is beyond belief and represents a double tragedy," Pugh said in a statement. "They were responsible for taking Jacquelyn's life with unconscionable cruelty and contrived to do so in our city under the guise of random violence, exploiting the legitimate fears of our residents." Some of Jacquelyn Smith's relatives say they doubted the story from the beginning. (Read more Baltimore stories.)

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