Man charged with killing wife after blaming a panhandler to be extradited

Courtesy Keith Smith

Courtesy Keith Smith

EEW Magazine News // Crime

The killing of a Baltimore woman took a stunning twist Sunday when her husband and stepdaughter were arrested on murder charges two months after they claimed a black man panhandling with a woman and a baby stabbed her when she gave them money.

Cameron County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Joe Elizardi said 52-year-old Keith Smith and his 28-year-old daughter, Valeria Smith, were arraigned Monday and agreed to be extradited. Elizardi says they’re held without bond and Baltimore officials have until March 15 to pick them up.

Smith originally called 911 and later told police that he and his wife, along with his daughter were driving when they saw a woman standing on the side of the road, carrying what looked like a baby wrapped in a blanket. They said she was holding a sign that read, "Help me feed my baby, God Bless."

Smith said they pulled over and his wife rolled down the window to hand the woman $10.

He told ABC News that he noticed a man standing next to the panhandling woman. But it never crossed his mind that he and his wife were being set up.

Courtesy Keith Smith

Courtesy Keith Smith

But Acting Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said at a news conference Sunday that the story wasn’t true and announced first-degree murder charges against Smith’s husband and step-daughter. He says they were arrested in Texas and were preparing to leave the country.

Police would not comment on how they determined Keith and Valeria Smith were responsible for the death, citing an ongoing investigation.

Officials would not comment on a possible motive.