By Victor Omondi
There have been inconsistent details behind the 2018 murder of a 54-year-old woman from Baltimore.
Valeria Smith, 31, pleaded guilty in September 2019 for helping her dad cover up the murder of her stepmom, Jacquelyn Smith, Law & Crime reported at the time.
“You’re pleading guilty because you are in fact guilty?” Baltimore Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn asked at that time.
“Yes,” she said, after admitting that she witnessed the murder but chose to help her dad flee to Mexico.
Jacquelyn was killed in December 2018. However, the husband Keith Smith told authorities that the 54-year-old, who was a mechanical engineer at Aberdeen Proving Ground, was stabbed multiple times in the chest.
Jacquelyn, in an act of charity, was giving $10 to panhandlers on her way home alongside her family, Keith told authorities. However, the panhandlers turned against her, grabbed her necklace, and stole her purse before stabbing her repeatedly in the chest.
Keith also claimed that his wife was stabbed by a man in a blue hoodie and that he noticed a lady in a brown coat who was carrying a baby.
The narrative of Jacquelyn’s murder has been changing over time, with a few inconsistencies, after Keith has had to repeat the story several times, according to Assistant State Attorney Shaundria Hanna.
Authorities were sent to the exact location where Keith claimed the murder happened but didn’t seem to find any evidence, not even the panhandlers, Police officer Sgt. Daniel Santos said.
Keith and his daughter were eventually arrested a few minutes after crossing the Mexico border. Valeria accepted to have helped her dad clean the mess after the murder adding that she threw her stepmom’s purse at a bus stop.
Valeria’s attorney claimed that she was suffering from bipolar disorder, according to the Baltimore Sun. “I was strung out on drugs and scared for my life,” Valeria wrote the judge. “My father made me leave the state.”
The 31-year-old could serve up to 10 years in prison after her sentencing on December 13.