By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Exactly three years to the day after an engineer was stabbed and killed in East Baltimore, the murder trial against her husband begins. Jury selection started Wednesday morning and a jury was seated that afternoon.

Keith Smith has been charged with first-degree murder and deadly weapon with intent to injure, after his wife Jacquelyn Smith was killed in the early morning hours of December 1, 2018.

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According to police, Keith Smith said his wife was killed after she tried to help a panhandler near North Valley and East Chase Streets.

In 2018, Keith Smith even made a personal plea for the killer to come forward.

“The cowards, they took my wife’s life. I hope it was worth it because you’re going to answer to that one day. You’re gonna answer to it,” he said to members of the media.

But police say Keith Smith was the killer, and his daughter, Valeria Smith was an accomplice.

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Three months after his wife was killed, the duo was arrested 20 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. Police believe they were trying to escape.

His daughter, Valeria Smith pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact in connection with her stepmother’s murder.

About 100 jurors went through the jury selection process in court on Wednesday. Potential jurors were asked questions on if they knew anyone connected to the case or if they’ve ever been the victim of violent crime.

The jury is comprised of two Black men, two white men, four Black women and three white women. Alternates are one white woman, one Black woman, one white man and one Black man.

For family and friends, the wait for the legal process to play out has been a long three years.

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Jacquelyn Smith’s best friend was in court for day one of jury selection. She chose not to publicly comment on the case out of respect to the family.

Ava-joye Burnett