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Valeria Smith Sentenced To Prison Time In Connection With Stepmother's Murder

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Four days after her father was found guilty of first-degree murder, Valeria Smith was back in court for her sentencing. But instead of walking free on Monday, the judge decided to hold her to the terms of a plea agreement that stated she would get 10 years in prison, with all but five years suspended, in connection to stepmother's murder.

Besides the prison sentence, 31-year-old Valeria Smith was also ordered to serve three years' probation after pleading guilty to an accessory charge in the 2018 murder of Jacquelyn Smith.

WJZ spoke with her attorney just hours after the sentencing.

Brandon Mead said Valeria Smith was hoping she would have been released after spending nearly three years behind bars.

"She was hoping to be home for the holidays for her two children, but that's not reality at this point," says Mead.

This case started back in December of 2018 when Jacquelyn Smith, an engineer at Aberdeen Proving Ground was stabbed to death.

Last Thursday a  jury said her husband, Keith Smith was guilty of killing her.

It was Valeria Smith who cooperated with prosecutors to build a case against her dad. Valeria said she was in the car that December night when her father unexpectedly attacked his wife. She said her dad then told her to cover up the crime and blame the murder on a panhandler.

Valeria and her father then went on the run. They were arrested three months later in Texas near the U.S. - Mexico border.

Valeria Smith pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact in connection to her stepmom's murder. Her attorney said Valeria refused to continue to carry the burden for her dad.

"She jumped through all the hoops her dad is trying to get her to jump through to protect him," Mead said. "But the reality is and we discussed this at length, he wasn't looking out for her when he did what he did in front of her and then he made her do all these things up onto and including attempting to flee to Mexico. "

During the trial, the prosecution implied that Keith Smith was after his wife's life insurance policy and that's why he killed her. State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said he then used his daughter to cover up the crime.

"He not only manipulated the hearts and the minds of the country, but he manipulated the heart and the mind of his daughter who was addicted to drugs," says State's Attorney Mosby.

Valeria Smith's attorney said even after she's released from prison, this is something she'll have to continue to deal with.

"It's not something that's just going to go away with the sentencing from today," says Mead. "It's not an easy thing and I'm sure she's going to have to talk to mental health professionals."

Valeria Smith's attorney said she is currently eligible for parole because she has served more than 25% of her five-year sentence. She will have three years of probation after her release.

Keith Smith will be sentenced in February. Prosecutors say they will ask for life behind bars.

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