Father expects daughter will testify against him in Baltimore "panhandler" murder

Valeria Smith pleads guilty to assisting father
Posted at 4:04 PM, Sep 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-27 18:09:52-04

BALTIMORE — Just two days after Jacqueline Smith was killed in the so-called panhandler murder, her stepdaughter Valeria Smith told WMAR 2-News in an emotional interview, "She is just the nicest woman you could ever meet in your life. She was just a beautiful person. She didn't deserve for this to happen to her."

But yesterday in a Baltimore city courtroom, Smith told a judge that while Jacqueline Smith didn't deserve it -- she helped do it.

Valeria Smith copped to being an accessory to the killing of her stepmother after the fact.

There was no panhandler but she helped her father Keith fabricate that story by disposing of Jacqueline's purse and the murder well as helped her father try to flee to Mexico.

But most of those details in Valeria's plea will remain sealed until after her father's trial in January.

"She's taken full responsibility for that,” her defense attorney Brandon Mead said, “She is still extremely upset about the entire thing and she certainly apologizes to the rest of the family for her role in this. [But you can’t tell us whether or not she will testify against her own father?] No."

But while her attorney can't answer that question, her father's lawyer says he certainly expects it.

"I would be surprised if that was not part of the plea agreement they used to twist her arm to plead guilty," defense attorney Natalie Finegar said.

Finegar expects his daughter to be a state's witness against her father.

Otherwise she says, the case is mostly a circumstantial one, but she warns Valeria has had mental health and addiction issues in the past and intends to prove Keith's daughter may be unreliable.

"There is still more discovery that is being provided to us, we're still doing more investigations,” Finegar said, “Looking forward to sitting down and having a jury trial with this case."

A case set for just about one year after it originally shook Baltimore and the country...the details of this family affair finally beginning to come out in open court.