A wedding, a stabbing, an arrest near Mexico: Manhunt contributes to capture of spouse in Baltimore ‘panhandler’ killing

In this truck-stop that is little within the Rio Grande Valley, Keith Smith steered their leasing automobile as a gasoline station to refuel. He and their adult daughter had traveled 1,770 miles far from Maryland — attempting, police state, to outrun murder fees in Baltimore that authorities right here was indeed alerted to fleetingly prior to the naive set arrived.

Mexico lay simply 20 moments ahead. These were very nearly there. They simply required some gasoline.

Nobody seemed to notice as Smith got away at pump No. 2 to refill the silver Camry with out-of-state dishes.

No body however a Texas state trooper who was simply looking for simply such a vehicle.

Utilizing the tank filled, Smith started initially to drive from the section and toward the edge. But, lights blinking, the trooper pulled right up behind the Camry until it stopped. The officer got away, pointed their weapon and ordered Smith to come out of their car.

Smith emerged through the driver’s side, arms raised. The trooper ordered him to down lie face. Out stepped Valeria Smith, barefoot and putting on a bath limit over bleached hair that is blond. She, too, lay face down in the great deal being a Combes officer arrived to aid.

The set had been seated and cuffed in patrol automobiles as police searched and towed the Camry. A pet together with them when you look at the automobile had been taken fully to a shelter since the two were driven down towards the county prison.

The arrests final week-end, captured on surveillance digital digital camera, represented an instant summary to a hushed police manhunt. The news shocked Maryland additionally the country a lot more compared to the tale that is tragic daddy and child tearfully told in December about how exactly Smith’s spouse, Jacquelyn, was indeed stabbed to death through a motor vehicle screen after providing cash up to a panhandler.

Baltimore authorities now state the storyline had been a address for just what they allege could be the truth: that Keith, 52, and Valeria Smith, 28, conspired to kill the engineer that is 54-year-old Aberdeen. The 2 have already been faced with first-degree murder and can stay in the Texas prison until they’ve been gone back to Maryland on March 20.

“It simply amazes me personally, ” said Patrick Quill, the Combes authorities chief. “They drove how long from Maryland? It had been really, extremely fortunate. ”

For Jacquelyn Smith along with her family members, the arrests only compound the ongoing tragedy for the gruesome last moments that police say were orchestrated by the guy she had provided her life with for six years. Face down and cuffed regarding the Southern Texas pavement, Keith Smith reached a location that when seemed that is quite likely he came across Jacquelyn.

After wire-tapping Keith and Valeria Smith’s mobile phones, peering within their Google search records and outlining obvious inconsistencies within their stories in regards to the evening Keith’s spouse Jacquelyn ended up being fatally stabbed, Baltimore Police charged the few on a pile that is growing of proof.

A dance towards the altar

Keith and Jacquelyn Smith had been a couple that is unlikely.

Their history close to Baltimore had been checkered by three bank robberies, a jail that is 12-year and allegations of spoken threats toward an old gf and their 2-year-old son.

Jacquelyn Smith ended up being the shining celebrity of her Rhode Island household — excelling in senior high school and university, achieving her fantasy to become an engineer that is electrical settling in Maryland to increase two men who will be effective teenagers today.

Their paths crossed whenever Keith spotted Jacquelyn at a friend’s that is mutual celebration Oct. 5, 2013. Like numerous how-we-met tales, Keith had to function the courage up to ask her to dancing, while he’d later inform mourners at her memorial service.

90 days down the road Christmas time Eve he proposed and she stated yes. They married in 2014 july.

“i enjoy state we danced our method to the altar, ” Keith stated at the service.

Members of the family worried concerning the rush that is romantic the altar, but figured Jacquelyn knew exactly just what she had been doing — as always.

“We trusted her. We trusted her judgment, ” said her older cousin, Yvonne Saab. “She ended up being a smart individual. ”

Jacquelyn was raised in Providence, R.I., where she went to a prestigious senior school. She later majored in engineering at new york A&T State University, where she was met by her first spouse. The couple had two sons together, and relocated round the nation — also to Germany — for their Army task. In each town, Jacquelyn worked as an engineer.

The couple later settled in Maryland, but divorced in 2005. She took ownership of these Aberdeen house in 2006 and proceeded to boost her two sons. The earliest, Kendall Hood, graduated from Cheyney University of Pennsylvania and joined up with the U.S. Coast Guard. Her more youthful son, David, went to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

“She made certain that her males always had the very best, ” Saab stated.

Jacquelyn’s family defines a doting mom, constantly there to cheer on her young ones at swim and track matches. She worked being a electric engineer for Huntington Ingalls Industries, where she ended up being a specialist when it comes to Department of Defense at Aderdeen Proving Ground. She dedicated to engineering analysis, and development and support of system designs for chemical and biological labs. She ended up being recognized to find methods to hard issues, her colleagues said.

Keith Smith asked their sibling Vick Smith to “get rid of” Keith’s spouse, Jacquelyn Smith, and fundamentally blamed her death on a Baltimore panhandler, Baltimore police documents that are charging.

Bank robberies and jail

Just like Jacquelyn had been beginning life as just one mom, Keith had been completing six years in jail for robbery having a weapon that is deadly.

He was the youngest of four kiddies raised in public places housing in Baltimore by a mother that is single whom worked as a parole and probation officer for the state.

Keith would later on inform authorities he invested 3 years into the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany, and ended up being honorably released. He worked as being a motorist when it comes to U.S. Postal provider as well as for Federal Express.

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Their course toward a jail cell started in December 1999 he later told Baltimore County police after he lost his job with FedEx because of too many points on his driver’s license. During the time, he had been raising their daughter alone together with recently discovered he had been HIV-positive, based on court public records.

So the Woodlawn that is 34-year-old man to rob banking institutions. The very first 2 times he joined banking institutions using a ski mask and wielding a pellet weapon. He told everybody to lie on the ground, jumped within the counters and emptied the compartments of money, authorities reports state. He rushed out rear doorways and drove house to Woodlawn. Those first couple of robberies — one in.

Ahead of the 3rd heist, Keith’s title surfaced in Baltimore County District Court for the issue that is domestic.

In-may 2000, a Baltimore County District Court judge finalized down for an order that is protective a Woodlawn girl had required against Keith. He was required by the order to remain out of the woman’s house along with her work. It awarded custody of the son towards the girl, Michelle Parker.

Inside her demand, Parker published that Keith ended up being inflicting “threats of violence” and “mental damage of the youngster. ”

Parker took the action after their son had invested the evening at Keith’s household and, she said, he’dn’t provide her the kid.

“He stated that i’d never ever see him once again, ” Parker published.

Officials released these documents supporting fees against Jacquelyn Smith’s spouse and stepdaughter within the Harford County female’s December death.

She stated Keith had threatened to register a false report that she had ignored the 2-year-old.

“Mr. Smith calls at each opportunity to let me know which he will beat the hell away from me if we make an effort to get him straight back, ” she wrote. “Because this is exactly what I have for looking to get kid help. ”

But Parker additionally had written that there was in fact no real punishment, simply spoken threats and psychological punishment.

At a hearing in June 2000 on whether or not to result in the protective purchase everlasting, a county judge denied Parker’s request, composing: “Facts usually do not help issuance of the domestic violence order. ”

Parker failed to answer a ask for remark.

Two months later, police say Keith burst as a bank for the 3rd time. But officers had been looking for a silver Nissan Maxima driven by the robber, an automobile they spotted times later on in East Baltimore. A chase ensued, the Maxima crashed and Keith had been arrested during the scene. Detectives stated they discovered $20,000 in profit his home taped in packages and kept in a bag that is black.