SD Card Led to His Arrest—and a New Confession

Brian Steven Smith accused of killing 2 Alaska Native women
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2019 7:55 AM CDT
The SD Card Showed a Murder. Now, a 2nd Killing
Brian Steven Smith looks out in the courtroom while waiting for his arraignment to start on Wednesday in Anchorage, Alaska.   (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

The man accused of the brutal strangling of a woman in an Alaska hotel room last month killed another woman, police say. Brian Steven Smith, 48, was charged with murder, sexual assault, and evidence tampering based on footage from an SD card labeled "homicide at midtown Marriott," found on an Anchorage street. Police say the footage from the first week of September showed Smith beating and choking an Alaska Native woman, 30-year-old Kathleen Jo Henry, whose body was found near the Seward Highway on Oct. 2. The 2nd alleged murder was revealed as Smith was questioned following his arrest at Anchorage International Airport on Oct. 8, detectives announced Thursday, per the Anchorage Daily News. They say Smith admitted to fatally shooting Veronica Abouchuk, 52, and detailed the location of her body.

Last seen in July 2018, Abouchuk was reported missing in February, two months before her remains—including a skull with a gunshot wound—were found along Old Glenn Highway. Authorities didn't rule out the possibility of more victims at a Thursday press conference, nor did they offer a motive for Smith's actions. CNN reports the Anchorage resident, who became a naturalized US citizen last month, is to be arraigned on new charges of murder and evidence tampering on Monday. Fearing he could flee to his native South Africa, prosecutors have requested Smith's bail be raised from $750,000 to $2 million. They say the killer poses a public safety risk, especially to "vulnerable, homeless women," per KTVA; Abouchuk was reportedly homeless. (More on the case here.)

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