BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Texas judge gave Maryland 10 days to pick up a father and daughter suspected in the killing of Jacquelyn Smith.
Keith Smith and his daughter Valeria Smith appeared in Cameron County courtroom Monday after they were charged in the death of Keith’s wife. Initially, Keith told police Jacquelyn was killed giving money to a panhandler in Baltimore. They were both denied bail.
The father and daughter are charged with murder and aggravated assault.
New details also emerged later Monday afternoon about Keith Smith’s criminal past.
According to Baltimore County police, Smith robbed a Timonium Bank three times years ago.
Charging documents reveal he robbed the First Union Bank on York Road in Timonium back in December 1999- then three months later in March of 2000 and again in August of 2000.
Police said Smith told investigators he worse a ski mask and had a pellet gun- and ordered everyone to lay down.
He was arrested in September following a police pursuit in Baltimore City, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Now, he is facing the law again- this time, for his wife’s murder.
Just days after the murder, the husband made a tearful plea on WJZ to catch the killer.
Police say he concocted a story that his wife rolled down her window to give money to a panhandler—a woman with a baby—in East Baltimore, when a man jumped out and stabbed her. It happened just after midnight in the rain.
“I’m from Baltimore. The last thing I thought they were going to do is take my wife’s life…. so now I’ve got to live with that. I’ve got to live with that every day,” Keith Smith said in December 2018 at the location he described as the murder scene near the Latrobe Homes. “She was my soulmate. The cowards who did this will pay.”
The victim’s brother, Marcel Trisvan told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren the story made no sense from the start. “I was always suspicious. My first question was who would roll the windows down on their wife? Why wouldn’t you stomp on the gas to get away, and why didn’t you immediately take her to the hospital?”
Trisvan said he made his feelings clear to detectives. “I knew this day would come,” he said of the arrests. “I just didn’t know it would come so soon.”
The Cameron County district attorney said, “when they apprehended the two individuals authorities in the county made the presumption that they were headed to Mexico.”
Full statement from the district attorney:
Today, I assisted in an extradition in the 404th District Court for Keith Smith and Valeria Smith. The Smiths, who are stepfather and stepdaughter, were arrested by Texas DPS Troopers yesterday on a warrant out of Maryland for First Degree Murder and booked at the Carrizales Detention Center. Today, they waived extradition before Judge Louis Sorrola. Maryland authorities now have 10 days to transport them. The high profile case is generating national interest because the Smiths are accused of fabricating an elaborate story in which the victim, who is the wife/mother of the defendants, was killed by a panhandler. Maryland authorities now have reason to believe they are the main suspects in the murder.
The pair were arrested by Texas Department of Public Safety troopers in Combes, just 20 miles for the U.S.-Mexico border.
Trisvan said he had a lot of questions after his sister’s death.
“She would never put herself in harm’s way,” her brother said. “The death penalty would be too easy. They need to sit in prison for life and stew about the crime they committed.”
After the story initially broke, even Oprah Winfrey said she would “think twice” before giving to panhandlers. And Missy Elliott offered prayers for the family.
Jacquelyn Smith was a loving mother and engineer who worked in Aberdeen. Her family said that after the murder, her husband sold all of the belongings in her townhouse and abruptly announced he was moving to Florida.
“I always thought that was a decoy move to distract police as he ran for the border,” her brother said.
He said Jacquelyn had a rocky relationship with Valeria and said that could be the motive “or maybe it was about money.”
Baltimore City Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said Sunday the case was still open and declined to elaborate on what police believe is the motive.
“People take advantage of Baltimore. We want to make sure the truth comes out and justice is done,” the commissioner said.
WJZ obtained court documents listing the charges the father-daughter duo now face.