Crime, Police/Fire

Keith Smith sentenced to life in prison plus three years for fatal stabbing of his wife that he blamed on panhandler

BALTIMORE, MD—Keith Smith has been sentenced by a Baltimore City judge to life in prison plus three years for the fatal stabbing of his wife, Jacquelyn Smith.

Assistant State’s Attorney Shaundria Hanna prosecuted this case.

“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. Today, the public can rest assured that justice was served in a case that manipulated the hearts and minds of our country,” said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. “I applaud my Assistant State’s Attorney Shaundria Hanna for her skillful prosecution of an exceedingly hard-fought case. Her around-the-clock preparation during the weeks leading up to the trial, and close-knit collaboration with BPD, ensured Mr. Smith deservedly spends the rest of his natural life in prison for his heinous and reprehensible actions. My victim advocates will continue to support Ms. Jacquelyn Smith’s family as they mourn the devastating loss of their loved one.”

At just after 12:30 a.m. on December 1, 2018, a Baltimore Police Department officer responded to Johns Hopkins Hospital in reference to a stabbing. Upon arrival, the officer was advised by medical personnel that an adult female was brought to the hospital by her husband suffering from multiple stab wounds. The victim was identified as Jacquelyn Anne Smith by her husband, Keith Tyrone Smith. Despite medical efforts to save her, Mrs. Smith was pronounced deceased at 12:48 a.m.

On December 3, 2018, detectives responded to the Medical Examiner’s Office and were advised that the victim, Jacquelyn Smith, was stabbed five times in the chest area and cut once on the lower right arm. At the conclusion of the autopsy, the cause and manner of death was ruled a homicide by sharp force injuries.

The preliminary investigation was driven by the initial statement given by Keith Smith who claimed that he and his wife were traveling in the 1000-block of Valley Street, along with his daughter, Valeria Smith, when his wife observed a female panhandling with a baby. Mr. Smith said he stopped his vehicle and the female panhandler approached the front passenger side. Mr. Smith said he opened the passenger window and Jacquelyn Smith then gave the panhandler ten dollars. Mr. Smith claimed, at that same moment, a male also walked over to the passenger side of the vehicle where his wife sat and the man asked Mr. Smith if he could thank his wife for giving the woman money. Mr. Smith said he replied “Yes.” He then claimed the man began to stab his wife multiple times, grabbed her necklace and wallet from her lap, and then fled on foot with the female panhandler.

On December 12, 2018, a BPD detective obtained a disclosure of records, including historical cellphone site location information, for both Keith Smith’s and daughter Valeria Smith’s cell phones. The records provided pertinent information that contradicted information provided by Keith and Valeria Smith. Specifically, the records showed that at the time Keith Smith said that he was traveling southbound on the 1000 Block of Valley street, Valeria Smith’s cell phone actually pinged off of a cell tower around and in Druid Hill Park—much further northwest of their claimed location. The data retrieved from Valeria Smith’s mobile account indicated that her cell phone was in Druid Hill Park near the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore City, Maryland, for approximately 12-16 minutes shortly after leaving the American Legion.

On February 8, 2019, a detective obtained wiretap warrants for Keith and Valeria Smith’s cell phones. While monitoring the wire, detective discovered Keith placed two phone calls for flight reservations and attempted to book one way tickets to Cuba and Canada, but was unable to secure a reservation as he did not have a U.S. passport to travel out of the country. While on the phone with the travel agent, Keith inquired about traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands without a passport. Also, while on the phone with the travel agent, Keith asked a search engine if a passport was needed to go to Jamaica and if there is a way to cross into Mexico without going through the border.

On March 3, 2019, Keith Smith and daughter Valeria Smith were subsequently apprehended in Texas, approximately 20 miles from the Mexico border. Valeria Smith subsequently admitted that the panhandler story was a hoax by Keith Smith and that she was present when he killed Jacquelyn in Druid Hill Park.

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

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