Jacquelyn Smith, 52, drove in Baltimore (Maryland) with her family last December, when she decided to stop the car to give some money to a woman who asked for help with her baby in her arms. After midnight, Smith lowered the window and a man came closer, thanked him, and tried to steal his wallet. During the battle, he stabbed Smith into the chest and fled, accompanied by the woman who had asked for his help.
Or that is what the police initially said about this crime, which strongly influenced public opinion.
The man of the wounded woman, Keith Smith, called for help from 911 and hurried with his wife to the hospital, where she died shortly thereafter. The police asked the population for help in finding the alleged perpetrators of the murder, who seemed to be one in a city plagued by crime.
"I stood up for this every day," Keith Smith explained, destroyed, "it's the only way to deal with it."
Last Sunday, however, the police announced the arrest of Smith, 52, and his stepdaughter, Valeria, 28, accused of coming up with the story of the murderous beggar to hide his own crime.
They were arrested in Harlingen, Texas, near the Mexican border, according to the newspaper The Washington Postand accused of manslaughter in the first degree.
"The circumstances were very different," said Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison. "He was not a beggar." "We often have these negative images of our city, and it is very unfortunate when people abuse those negative images," said Public Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby.