Family Claimed Mom Was Fatally Stabbed by a Panhandler. Police Arrested Her Husband For Staging Her Death

Police say a case that grabbed national attention was a staged murder by the victim’s family.

Three months ago, people across the country mourned the senseless killing of Jacquelyn Smith, 52, after her husband claimed that she was fatally stabbed giving money to a panhandler.

The city of Baltimore and public officials reacted to the act of kindness that cost Jacquelyn her life on December 1.

But now investigators have arrested the woman’s husband and stepdaughter after discovering new evidence that links the two relatives to the woman’s murder reports the Baltimore Sun.

NBC News

In December, Keith Smith told police he had been out with his wife and daughter for a night of dancing when a woman panhandling with a baby, set up his wife in a robbery.

As reported by CBS News, the widower said Jacquelyn was brutally killed in her car while helping a woman begging. He recalled the incident:

“[She] snatched her necklace, and before I knew it, the girl snatched the little pocketbook from the seat and they both ran. I jumped out the car to run, but I heard my wife screaming, so I came back to the car.”

After Jacquelyn rolled-down her car window to give money to the woman, Keith claimed that she had been stabbed through the window by a man.

Watch widower’s interview with NBC News below:

Texas police released the mugshot of Keith and his daughter Valeria Smith after the two were arrested near the U.S.-Mexican border. Several of Jacquelyn’s family members told the Sun they had doubts about Keith’s story from the beginning.

The Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, who did not comment on a motive, told WBAL:

“The information and the evidence points to it was not a panhandler. People took advantage of Baltimore.”

Mayor Catherine Pugh also condemned the murder and cover-up during a news conference. Pugh said:

“Like everyone in our city, state and across this nation, we mourned the senseless killing of Jacquelyn Smith. 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.”

Kieth and Valeria were both charged with first-degree murder, but police have not confirmed their extradition date.


Pugh said the Smiths exploited the city by taking advantage of the negative depictions of Baltimore.

They were criticized for making panhandlers look bad.

Watch below for more video: