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Baltimore man who concocted panhandler murder hoax after killing his wife in 2018 sentenced

A Baltimore judge sentenced a man who was convicted in the killing of his wife in 2018. Keith Smith was sentenced Monday to life in prison for murder plus three years to be served concurrently for the use of a deadly weapon.In December, a jury found Keith Smith guilty of first-degree murder and a weapons charge in connection with the 2018 stabbing death of his 54-year-old wife, Jacquelyn Smith, a killing he tried to blame on a panhandler.Keith Smith chose to hear his fate through closed-circuit TV rather than in person. The only thing Keith Smith said that could be heard clearly was, “I’m sorry.” Jacquelyn Smith’s family declined an interview, but issued a statement, saying it is pleased with the sentence: “This didn’t bring her back, but we are elated and we feel that definitely justice was served.”Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby released a statement, saying, in part: “Keith Smith will now justly serve a life sentence in prison for violently stabbing his wife to death and then creating an elaborate cover-up plan to cowardly blame panhandlers for his horrific attack. Today, the public can rest assured that justice was served in a case that manipulated the hearts and minds of our country.”Keith Smith told investigators his wife tried to give a panhandling couple $10 at the intersection of East Chase and Valley streets as they headed home from celebrating his daughter’s birthday. He claimed the panhandlers took his wife’s necklace, stole her wallet and stabbed her.But court testimony showed Jacquelyn Smith was asleep in the car at a different location when Keith Smith stabbed her at least five times.Prosecutors said Keith Smith stabbed his wife for insurance money and that his adult daughter, Valeria Smith, who was a witness, also helped cover it up. Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Schiffer admonished Keith Smith, calling the killing premeditated and willful: “The victim had no way of knowing her husband would stab her over and over again. The victim was the definition of defenseless and vulnerable. She was asleep. He blamed vulnerable people: panhandlers.”In exchange for a lighter prison sentence, Valeria Smith testified against her father. In December, a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge sentenced Valeria Smith to five years in prison followed by three years of probation.Police evidence included cellphone data and surveillance video and Keith Smith’s inconsistent statements about the crime. In a statement, family members said they appreciate the hard work detectives put into the case: “The evidence just stacked up against him. There was just tremendous evidence and it all made perfect sense and it all pointed in one direction, and it was Keith.”Family members said Jacquelyn loved her husband and wanted their marriage to work. They said she gave her all to everything she did.

A Baltimore judge sentenced a man who was convicted in the killing of his wife in 2018.

Keith Smith was sentenced Monday to life in prison for murder plus three years to be served concurrently for the use of a deadly weapon.

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In December, a jury found Keith Smith guilty of first-degree murder and a weapons charge in connection with the 2018 stabbing death of his 54-year-old wife, Jacquelyn Smith, a killing he tried to blame on a panhandler.

Keith Smith chose to hear his fate through closed-circuit TV rather than in person. The only thing Keith Smith said that could be heard clearly was, “I’m sorry.”

Jacquelyn Smith’s family declined an interview, but issued a statement, saying it is pleased with the sentence: “This didn’t bring her back, but we are elated and we feel that definitely justice was served.”

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby released a statement, saying, in part: “Keith Smith will now justly serve a life sentence in prison for violently stabbing his wife to death and then creating an elaborate cover-up plan to cowardly blame panhandlers for his horrific attack. Today, the public can rest assured that justice was served in a case that manipulated the hearts and minds of our country.”

Keith Smith told investigators his wife tried to give a panhandling couple $10 at the intersection of East Chase and Valley streets as they headed home from celebrating his daughter’s birthday. He claimed the panhandlers took his wife’s necklace, stole her wallet and stabbed her.

But court testimony showed Jacquelyn Smith was asleep in the car at a different location when Keith Smith stabbed her at least five times.

Prosecutors said Keith Smith stabbed his wife for insurance money and that his adult daughter, Valeria Smith, who was a witness, also helped cover it up.

Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Schiffer admonished Keith Smith, calling the killing premeditated and willful: “The victim had no way of knowing her husband would stab her over and over again. The victim was the definition of defenseless and vulnerable. She was asleep. He blamed vulnerable people: panhandlers.”

In exchange for a lighter prison sentence, Valeria Smith testified against her father. In December, a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge sentenced Valeria Smith to five years in prison followed by three years of probation.

Police evidence included cellphone data and surveillance video and Keith Smith’s inconsistent statements about the crime.

In a statement, family members said they appreciate the hard work detectives put into the case: “The evidence just stacked up against him. There was just tremendous evidence and it all made perfect sense and it all pointed in one direction, and it was Keith.”

Family members said Jacquelyn loved her husband and wanted their marriage to work. They said she gave her all to everything she did.