Husband, stepdaughter who blamed panhandler for woman's death charged with murder

A Maryland man and his daughter are facing first-degree murder charges in the death of his wife, who they claimed had been killed while giving money to a panhandler in Baltimore, authorities said.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Texas State Police arrested Keith Smith, 52, and Valeria Smith, 28, on Sunday morning in connection with the Dec. 1 stabbing death of 54-year-old Jacquelyn Smith, who was Valeria's stepmother, Baltimore police said in a news conference Sunday evening. Police said the suspects, who were apprehended near Harlingen, Texas, were trying to leave the U.S.

>> Watch the news conference here

Police Commissioner Michael Harrison announces significant development in the Jacquelyn Smith Murder Investigation.

Posted by Baltimore Police Department on Sunday, March 3, 2019

In December, Keith and Valeria Smith said they were in the car with Jacquelyn Smith when she lowered the passenger-side window to give money to a supposed mother in need, the Sun reported. A man then walked up to the car, tried to steal Smith's wallet and stabbed her, they told police.

"We now know that that was not true," Michael Harrison, Baltimore's acting police commissioner, told reporters Sunday.

Harrison didn't reveal specific evidence against the suspects, but said information "points to the fact that it was not a panhandler and that the circumstances were very different."

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"People took advantage of Baltimore, and what we want to make sure is that the truth comes out and justice is done," he said.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh also condemned the suspects.

"Like everyone in our city, state and across the nation, we mourned the senseless killing of Jacquelyn Smith," Pugh said in a statement. "To now learn that family members staged this brutal killing is beyond belief and represents a double tragedy. 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."

>> Read the full statement here


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