Jacquelyn Smith

Stepdaughter claims panhandler murdered stepmom so the real killer — her dad — can flee to Mexico: Court

A Maryland woman admitted Thursday to not only witnessing her stepmother’s murder and claiming that a panhandler did it, but helping her father—the accused killer—flee to Mexico.

The Baltimore Sun reports that Valeria Smith, 28, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact in connection with the murder of Jacquelyn Smith, 54, who was fatally stabbed in the chest in December. Afterward, Keith and Valeria Smith claimed Jacquelyn Smith was in her car and had given money to a woman panhandling with a baby when a man ran up to the vehicle, snatched her purse, and stabbed her.

However, investigators said surveillance footage from the crime scene didn’t support Keith and Valeria Smith’s story. In March, the pair was apprehended in Texas near the U.S./Mexican border, according to WBAL.

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Speaking on Valeria Smith’s behalf, defense attorney Brandon Meade said she helped her father dispose of the knife and other items related to the murder.

Detectives also reportedly said that Kieth Smith’s close friend alleged that Smith had asked his brother to help him murder his wife. Further, he allegedly researched foreign countries that he could travel to without a passport.

The Sun reported that in April, Harford County judge removed Keith Smith’s authority over his late wife’s estate.

Valeria Smith is scheduled to be sentenced in January. Her father’s murder trial is slated to begin next month.

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[Featured image: Handout]