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Murder charges dropped for daughter in panhandling killer ruse

Valeria Smith now facing accessory to murder
Posted at 4:54 PM, Jun 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-05 09:03:09-04

BALTIMORE — After fabricating a story of how a Baltimore panhandler leaned into the car and stabbed Jacquelyn Smith to death, detectives say her husband Keith and his daughter Valeria made a run for the Mexican border.

The two were picked up and charged with murder one, two, assault, conspiracy and more.

READ MORE: Failed flight of accused father/daughter murder duo

It was them all along, police said, except now, three months later, prosecutors are saying it was more him.

"They made the determination that we believe is the right determination that Ms. Smith was not involved in the murder of Mrs. Jacquelyn Smith," said Valeria’s attorney Brandon Mead.

Mead said it was after some lengthy discussions with the state that prosecutors decided to file criminal information charging her with accessory to murder after the fact, with the litany of other more serious charges dropped.

"The reality is, she was in the car, but she was not involved, she had no pre-knowledge of what her father was going to do,” Mead said, “She was, in our belief and through, I believe the state's charging documents, their belief now is that she didn't know."

Mead cannot say whether or not Valeria will testify against her father as he continues to face murder charges; that remains to be seen.

But what is now clear is that she is no longer telling the story that protects her father – the version she first told WMAR 2-News in front of Jacquelyn and Keith's Harford County home just a day after the murder.

READ MORE: Putting together the pieces: What we know so far about Jacquelyn Smith's murder

"She was young. She was the nicest woman you could ever meet in your life,” Valeria said through tears about Jacquelyn Smith on December 3. “She was just a beautiful person, and she didn't deserve for this to happen to her."

And now, her attorney is saying, Valeria believes Jacquelyn finally deserves the truth as well.

Mead says with the dropped charges, he will file for a bail review for Valeria Smith.

According to court records, Keith Smith is due in court for an arraignment later this week.