A woman stole a memory card from a truck. The gruesome footage is now key to an Alaska murder trial.

Source link : https://usa-news.biz/2024/02/06/alaska/a-woman-stole-a-memory-card-from-a-truck-the-gruesome-footage-is-now-key-to-an-alaska-murder-trial-2/

Crime

“In my movies, everybody always dies,” the voice says on one video. “What are my followers going to think of me? People need to know when they are being serial-killed.”

Brian Steven Smith sits in a courtroom.
Brian Steven Smith sits in a courtroom while waiting for his arraignment to start in Anchorage, Alaska, Oct. 16, 2019. AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File

By MARK THIESSEN, Associated Press

February 5, 2024 | 9:27 AM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A woman with a lengthy criminal history including theft, assault and prostitution got into a truck with a man who had picked her up for a “date” near downtown Anchorage. When he left her alone in the vehicle, she stole a digital memory card from the center console.

Now, more than four years later, what she found on that card is key to a double murder trial set to begin this week: gruesome photos and videos of a woman being beaten and strangled at a Marriott hotel, her attacker speaking in a strong accent as he urged her to die, her blanket-covered body being snuck outside on a luggage cart.

“In my movies, everybody always dies,” the voice says on one video. “What are my followers going to think of me? People need to know when they are being serial-killed.”

About a week after she took the SD card, the woman turned it over to police, who said they recognized the voice as that of Brian Steven Smith, now 52, a South Africa native they knew from a prior investigation, court documents say.

Smith has pleaded not guilty to 14 charges, including first- and second-degree murder, sexual assault and tampering with evidence, in the deaths of Kathleen Henry, 30, and Veronica Abouchuk, who was 52 when her family reported her missing in February 2019, seven months after they last saw her.

Henry and Abouchuk were both Alaska Native women who had experienced homelessness. They were from small villages in western Alaska, Henry from Eek and Abouchuk from Stebbins.

Authorities say Henry was the victim whose death was recorded at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott, a hotel in midtown Anchorage. Smith was registered to stay there from Sept. 2 to Sept. 4, 2019; the first images showing her body were time-stamped at about 1 a.m. on Sept. 4, police said.

The last images on the card were taken early on Sept. 6 and showed Henry’s body in the back of a black pickup, according to charging documents. Location data showed that at the time the photo was taken, Smith’s phone was in the area of Rainbow Valley Road, along the Seward Highway south of Anchorage, the same area where Henry’s body was found several weeks later, police said.

As detectives interrogated Smith about the Marriott case, authorities said, he offered up more information to police who escorted him to a bathroom: He had killed another woman, and he went on to identify her — Abouchuk — from a photo and to provide the location of her remains, along the Old Glenn Highway

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Author : usa-news

Publish date : 2024-02-06 10:47:24

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