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Man Allegedly Caught On Video Strangling Woman To Death Is Charged With Second Killing
A stray memory card found in Anchorage allegedly contains images and video of Brian Steven Smith killing Kathleen Henry. Now authorities say he's also confessed to the 2018 death of Veronica Abouchuck.
An Alaska man accused of murder after a digital memory card found in the street contained images and video that seemingly showed him strangling a woman is now charged in a second homicide.
Brian Steven Smith, 48, allegedly admitted in interviews with Anchorage police that he was the man seen in the recovered video and images sexually assaulting and strangling 30-year-old Kathleen Henry to death, according to documents filed by the state Department of Law.
But during the discussion, Smith allegedly made another disturbing confession –– that Henry wasn't the only person he'd killed, The Associated Press reports.
Smith also allegedly told police that sometime between 2017 and 2018 he shot another woman and provided details of where her body could be found, local station KTVA reports.
Anchorage police later identified the woman as 53-year-old Veronica Abouchuck, who was last seen by her family in July 2018.
Anchorage Police Chief Justin Doll said Abouchuck’s remains had been found at mile 4.5 of the Old Glenn Highway. The remains were described in court documents as being a skull with a gunshot wound.
Smith had initially pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, sexual assault and tampering in the death of his first known victim—Henry—before he allegedly made the confession, Fox News reports.
On Thursday, he was also indicted by a grand jury for murder and evidence tampering in Abouchuck’s death, the AP reports.
Smith was first arrested earlier this month after a woman called police on Sept. 30 to report that she had found an SD card in the middle of the road in an Anchorage neighborhood that appeared to have evidence of a crime. The memory card allegedly contained images and video showing a woman being strangled by a man with what is described as “some sort of English accent,” who was telling her to “just ... die.” The videos also showed Henry, an Alaskan native, laying in the back of a truck face down, according to court records and police.
The SD card was labeled “homicide at midtown Mariott. [sic]”
Authorities were able to link the crime to Smith—who came to Alaska from South Africa about five years ago and just became a naturalized U.S. citizen last month—by detectives who recognized him from another case, KTVA reports.
Authorities were also able to match a partial license plate seen in the video to a black pickup truck Smith owned with his wife and found hotel records under Smith’s name at the time investigators believe Henry was killed.
Smith was taken into custody on Oct. 8.
His wife Stephanie Bissland, told local station KTUU shortly after his arrest that he was a "good husband" and that she planned to stand behind him.
"Never in my life would I have thought what they are saying is going on. ... I don't believe it," she said.
Smith is currently being held at the Anchorage Correctional Complex on a $750,000 cash bail; however, in light of the new charges, prosecutors have requested the bail be increased to $2 million.
Smith’s public defender, Daniel L. Lowery, has declined to comment on the new charges.