Husband And Stepdaughter Charged For Staged Killing of Maryland Woman
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A Maryland man and his 28-year-old daughter were arraigned in Texas on Monday in the death of his late wife. After telling authorities in December that his wife had died at the hands of a panhandler in Baltimore, police closed in on the daddy-daughter duo near the U.S.-Mexican border and charged them with the staged killing.   According to The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore police received warrants to arrest Keith Smith, 52, and his daughter, Valeria Smith on Sunday. The Washington Post reports that police became suspicious of the widower when he tried to leave Maryland in the middle of the investigation. Acting Police Commissioner Michael Harrison told Sun reporters, “I can say that being notified that they were in Texas certainly added to the evidence we already had to convince us that it was not the homeless person, [and] probable cause existed that it was more than likely their involvement.” Harrison says that despite their arrest, the investigation is still ongoing and word of a motive has yet to be released. In addition to being charged with murder, both Smith’s are facing counts of conspiracy to commit murder, assault, and conspiracy to commit assault, as well as a dangerous weapon charge. Following the news of the arrest, Jacquelyn Smith’s family is speaking out. Her brother Marcel Trisvan has said that the story of the panhandler never quite added up and those who love her have questioned the details of Smith’s account from the very beginning. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has also weighed in, calling the latest development “troubling and sad.” In a released statement she went on to say, “To now learn that family members staged this brutal killing is beyond belief and represents a double tragedy. They were responsible for taking Jacquelyn’s life with unconscionable cruelty, and contrived to do so in our city under the guise of random violence, exploiting the legitimate fears of our residents.” The father and daughter currently face extradition to Maryland.