In interviews, Keith Smith spoke of a woman who appeared to be holding a baby and had a cardboard sign that said, “Please Help me feed my Baby.” Although Smith said he was reluctant to open the window late at night, his wife “felt moved to give her some money.” Later, Smith claimed that another man approached to snatch his wife’s purse and necklace — and then stabbed her to death.
Jacquelyn Smith was stabbed five times in her chest.
» The incident was condemned by city leaders, such as Mayor Catherine Pugh. Then-interim Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle called the killing “a heinous murder.”
Keith Smith wanted to get a law passed in his wife’s memory banning panhandling.
By Jessica Anderson , Colin Campbell and Justin Fenton
Mar 03, 2019 | 8:25 PM
» But months later, Keith and Valeria Smith, were arrested by Texas State Police near the U.S.-Mexico border while trying to flee the country.
Warrants charging them with first-degree murder in Jacquelyn Smith’s death were issued.
"The information and evidence points it wasn't a panhandler," Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison told reporters. "People take advantage of Baltimore. We want to make sure the truth comes out and justice is done."
Harrison, in a meeting with The Baltimore Sun editorial board, said the timing of the arrest was affected by the Smiths’ proximity to the Mexico border.
» Keith and Valeria Smith left prison near the Mexican border to return to Baltimore and stand trial for murder.
» Detectives wrote that Keith Smith and his daughter gave inconsistent accounts of the crime in different interviews, triggering officers’ suspicions.
» Footage from surveillance cameras showed no sign of their car in the desolate stretch of East Baltimore the night the stabbing happened, according to charging documents.
» On Feb. 27, Keith Smith’s brother, Vick Smith, was served a subpoena to testify before a grand jury. After being warned by his brother of the subpoena the following day, Keith Smith began making getaway plans.