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Sons ask court to strip Keith Smith from mother’s estate in killing originally blamed on Baltimore panhandler

Sons of the slain Jacquelyn Smith are asking the court to strip the control of her estate from her husband and alleged killer.

In a petition filed this week, Kendall and David Hood called for Keith Smith to be removed from his position, saying he lied on forms to control their mother’s estate. Smith appears to have signed and dated papers indicating he had “not been convicted of fraud, extortion, embezzlement, forgery, perjury, theft or any other serious crime that reflects adversely on my honesty.”

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Smith, 52, and his grown daughter, Valeria Smith, 28, have been charged with murdering Jacquelyn Smith, who was stabbed to death in December somewhere in Baltimore.

The father and daughter had blamed the killing on a panhandling woman and knife-wielding man, but police say their story was a ruse. They were arrested earlier this month at a South Texas truck stop 20 minutes from the Mexican border.

The two left prison near the Mexican border Wednesday to return to Baltimore and stand trial for murder.

Around 9:30 a.m., authorities escorted the father and daughter from the Cameron County Detention Center in South Texas, said Sheriff Omar Lucio, who runs the prison.

“I checked with my jailer. They didn’t say anything. They knew where they were going,” Lucio said. “They didn’t create any kind of commotion.”

Their quiet departure marked the end of what police described as a run for the Mexican border with detectives closing in on the suspects.

In their petition to remove Kevin Smith from his wife’s estate, her sons cite Smith’s convictions for robbing a Timonium bank three times about two decades ago. He pleaded guilty and served about six years in prison before he was paroled in 2007. He married Jacquelyn Smith about seven years later.

“The aforementioned petition, filed by Mr. Smith under the penalty of perjury, contained at least one false and misleading statement,” their attorney wrote.

The attorney declined to comment. A hearing on the matter has not been scheduled.

Jacquelyn Smith, 54, of Aberdeen was an electrical engineer at Aberdeen Proving Ground. She was stabbed five times in her chest and killed in December, and the crime shocked the conscience of Baltimore residents.

Keith and Valeria Smith claimed the killing happened during an act of kindness: that Jacquelyn had handed $10 to a panhandler just before she was attacked in East Baltimore. The story drew widespread attention and stoked fears of the homeless in the city.

Three months later, police announced that they were charging Keith and Valeria with the murder. In charging documents, detectives wrote that they uncovered inconsistencies in the story about the panhandler. The couple had been celebrating Valeria Smith’s birthday with her at an American Legion hall in West Baltimore. They were driving Valeria home when they supposedly encountered a woman panhandling with a baby.

Investigators, however, checked footage from 27 surveillance cameras and found no sign of the car that night in the desolate stretch of East Baltimore where they claimed the stabbing happened, they wrote. Cellphone signals placed the Smiths’ car in Druid Hill Park for about 15 minutes before the stabbing. And police say Keith and Valeria made no mention of the park. Only later, they say, Keith Smith admitted that he got lost while driving home.

The documents offer no explanation of how the father and daughter allegedly carried out the stabbing. Nor do detectives make mention of a knife or any evidence of the gruesome act itself.

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Police say the pair made for the Mexican border after discovering they were suspects. On March 3, Texas police arrested them at a highway truck stop 20 minutes from Mexico.

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