Insurance Fraud NEWS
Baltimore man suspected of lying that panhandler stabs wife
March 21, 2019, Baltimore, MD
Keith and Valeria Smith, the father and daughter accused of killing a Harford County woman, were extradited back to Maryland Thursday morning to face murder charges.
Baltimore police released video of their arrival. Officers arrested the pair earlier this month near the U.S. Mexico border. Both are charged with killing Jacquelyn Smith, who was Keith Smith's wife and Valeria Smith's stepmother.
Initially, Keith Smith told police in December that a panhandler stabbed Jacquelyn Smith to death in east Baltimore.
Keith Smith was the beneficiary of a life insurance policy on his wife, Jacquelyn, the 11 News I-Team has learned from multiple sources. The insurance policy amount was at least $500,000.
Investigators arrested the father and daughter in Texas near the U.S. - Mexican border. Why were they there? A possible family vacation says one defense attorney.
"Your dad says, 'Let's head down to Mexico take a family vacation some R and R.' I don't see any criminal element in that," said Brandon Mead, defense attorney of Valeria.
At the bail hearings, judges called them extreme flight risks and dangers to the community. They remain held without bail. Their lawyers slammed the case developed by police and prosecutors.
I-Team investigator Barry Simms met with Keith Smith's attorney, Natalie Finegar, outside Wabash Courthouse following his video bail hearing.
"The last line of the statement of probable cause says it all: Up until the point they decided to issue a warrant, they didn't have any other suspects. They didn't say they were sure these were the individuals. We just didn't have any other suspects," Finegar said.
Valeria's attorney called the court document 15 pages of fluff.
"And there is zero direct evidence linking Ms. Smith with any crime," said Mead.
In court, 11 News learned Valeria has gotten psychiatric treatment and admits to using heroin and cocaine. She also attempted suicide last year. Keith Smith has a master's degree in Biblical theology and military experience, including a less than honorable discharge from the Army. He also has past convictions of eluding police and robbery.
Finegar said the attention the case has already received may make picking a jury difficult.
"It's sometimes difficult to pick a jury when the public believes what is put out is an insinuation or an allegation. So that's what I'm begging the public to do at this point is hold open your mind -- that we haven’t seen any of this evidence yet," she said.
Finegar is solely representing Keith Smith.
"Mr. Smith is always innocent until proven guilty, and I haven't seen anything that proves he is guilty," Finegar said.
Keith and Valeria Smith were ordered by a judge to be held without bail.
That court document also gives details about police being unable to find a crime scene where the two claimed the murder happened. How cellphone records put them in Druid Hill Park for 12-16 minutes that night, how investigators had evidence Keith Smith approached his brother and asked for help in killing his wife, and how the Smith's gave contradictory statements.
Source: WBAL TV 11