By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — On day two of the case of the State of Maryland versus Keith Smith, prosecutors painted the defendant as a person who violated his wedding vows, stabbed his wife five times and then blamed her murder on a panhandler.

The prosecutor, assistant state’s attorney Shaundria Hanna, called an assistant medical examiner as a witness Thursday, who showed jurors graphic images of Jacquelyn Smith’s five stab wounds to the chest.

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Two of those wounds were so bad, the witness said they penetrated all the way through the chest cavity and caused significant injuries to the lung and heart. The injuries were “rapidly fatal,” the assistant medical examiner testified, which means Mrs. Smith would’ve died in a matter of minutes.

In a 911 call played in the courtroom, Mr. Smith could be heard telling an operator “The guy came out and killed my wife man,” he said. “You’ve got to help me, they stabbed my wife man.”

Someone could be heard crying loudly in the background during the 911 call. That person was possibly Valeria Smith, the defendant’s daughter. Valeria Smith pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact in connection with her stepmother’s murder and she will testify against her dad, telling the court that he was the mastermind.

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The prosecutor said Mr. Smith took off after his wife’s murder and wiretapped phone calls showed he tried to book a flight out of the country to the Virgin Islands or Canada, but he didn’t have a passport.

The prosecutor said both Keith Smith and his daughter were arrested 1,700 miles from Maryland near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Mr. Smith’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Natalie Finegar said his daughter Valeria played a larger role than she’s leading on and that she was the one who gave detectives directions to a crime scene where no evidence was found. The prosecution said the state will prove that Jacquelyn Smith was killed in Druid Hill Park and not near the intersection of North Valley and East Chase Streets in East Baltimore.

The defense also wondered why Valeria is testifying against her father now, when she had plenty of time to come forward in the past.

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Two jurors were replaced with alternates after one person was exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and another juror said they saw news coverage of the case.

Ava-joye Burnett