A man who tried to cover up his wife’s 2018 stabbing death with a story blaming a Baltimore beggar was sentenced to life in prison on Monday.
Keith Smith, of Aberdeen, was convicted in December of first degree murder in the death of his wife, Jacquelyn Smith, a 54-year-old electrical engineer at Aberdeen Proving Ground. He was sentenced to life in prison for murder plus three years to be served concurrently for using a deadly weapon, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Appearing via video from jail, Smith apologized to Jacquelyn’s family but maintained he was innocent. His attorney, Natalie Finegar, asked the judge for a sentence less than the maximum, focusing on his faith and involvement in his church before his arrest.
Circuit Judge Jennifer Schiffer said she had never seen facts that “showed more premeditation, will and intent.” “The crime for which the defendant was convicted was the reason the maximum penalty for murder was created,” Schiffer added. Keith Smith told police his wife was stabbed by a man after handing over $10 to a beggar woman who appeared to be holding a baby, a story that drew national attention, as he and his daughter, Valeria, were gave tearful interviews. Oprah Winfrey, a former Baltimore news anchor, tweeted that the case would make her reconsider handing out money to beggars. But the story fell apart when detectives couldn’t find evidence of the beggars and surveillance video and cellphone data didn’t show Smith’s car along the route he was on. claimed to borrow.
Keith Smith and his daughter were arrested in March 2019 in Texas in what was billed as a dash for Mexico.
Valeria Smith, who pleaded guilty in 2019 to acting as an accomplice to the murder of her stepmother, admitted to leaving her stepmother’s purse at a bus stop to support the story of the Beggar. She testified that her father drove them to a park while his wife was dozing, then stabbed her. Afterwards, Keith Smith explained to his daughter what she would tell the police.
“The story was supposed to be that it was about a homeless person, or two homeless people, who had a baby, and Mrs. Jacquelyn was supposed to take pity on them,” Valeria Smith told the jury. . “When she gave them the money, they stabbed her.” Keith Smith’s attorney told the jury that the inconsistencies in his client’s story do not prove he killed his wife.
Valeria Smith was sentenced in December to five years in prison under a plea deal, in which she agreed to testify against her father.
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