Smith is accused of killing his wife in 2018 and then trying to cover up the murderBy Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Jury deliberations began Wednesday morning in the trial of Keith Smith, the Baltimore man accused of killing his wife in 2018 and blaming it on a panhandler.

The jury left around 5 p.m. having not made a verdict. They will return to the court Thursday morning.

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Smith is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of his wife, Jacquelyn, an engineer at Aberdeen Proving Ground who was stabbed to death in December 2018.

He’s accused of killing his wife, then concocting a story that she had been stabbed by a panhandler in East Baltimore. He and his daughter were arrested near the U.S.-Mexico border in early 2019.

In court Tuesday, jurors heard from Smith’s daughter, Valeria, who testified that her father stabbed her stepmother in Druid Hill Park after the family went out to dinner.

Valeria Smith testified that her father was calm afterward, but she said his demeanor changed when he called 911 to report his wife had been stabbed.

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She said her father then ditched the murder weapon in the woods and told her to lie to police and say it was a panhandler who stabbed and killed his wife.

During cross-examination, the defense grilled Valeria Smith, who pleaded guilty in 2019 to an accessory charge, about why it took her so long to come forward with the allegations against her father.

The defense accused her of playing a bigger role in the killing than she let on and implied that she turned on her father because she was afraid of spending the rest of her life in prison.

Jurors also heard from a detective who was so convinced that Smith had killed his wife that he told an insurance company to hold off on paying out Jacquelyn Smith’s life insurance policy.

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An FBI agent also took the stand Tuesday, testifying that cell phone and Google data placed both Keith and Valeria Smith in Druid Hill Park the night of the murder.

Ava-joye Burnett