By Rachael Cardin

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Valeria Smith has pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact in connection to the death of her stepmother Jacquelyn Smith.

Smith was initially charged with murder, but those charges were dropped earlier this year. She faces up to ten years behind bars.

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Police say Valeria and her father Keith Smith stabbed Jacquelyn on December 1, 2018. They initially blamed her death on a panhandler.


The pair were arrested near the Mexican border in southern Texas, where prosecutors say they were fleeing. They were brought back to Baltimore shortly after to await trial.

Judges previously learned Valeria Smith suffers from bipolar disorder and heroin addiction. Keith Smith has a violent criminal past that includes armed bank robberies.

WJZ spoke to Jacquelyn’s longtime friend outside of court Thursday morning about Jacquelyn and Valeria’s relationship.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t play the scenario in my head that I wish it would have played out a different way, not a day goes by that I don’t ask why why did they do it why did they take her from us,” said Kenney, longtime friend and Harford County resident.

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Another friend, Michelle Kenney, said the ten-year maximum sentence isn’t enough for the crime.

“I think it should be life,” she said.

Outside the courthouse, defense attorney Brandon Mead said his client took full responsibility for her role in Jacquelyn’s death.

In a statement Thursday night, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said Smith “rightfully” pleaded guilty.

“This murder impacted our city and Jacquelyn’s family in ways unimaginable and my hope is today’s results brings the family one step closer towards healing for their daughter, sister, friend and loved one,” Mosby said. “Our office will continue to fight tirelessly to deliver justice for all victims and witnesses of crime.”

Her sentencing is scheduled for January 29 at 2 p.m.

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Keith Smith will head to trial in January.

Rachael Cardin