Man heard in strangling video charged in 2nd death in Alaska

Authorities in Alaska say a man accused in the strangling of an Alaska woman seen on a digital memory card has been charged with another death

October 17, 2019, 7:46 PM
Memory Card Killing
Brian Steven Smith looks out in the courtroom while waiting for his arraignment to start Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, in Anchorage, Alaska. A public defender entered not guilty pleas for Smith, who is accused of documenting the assault and murder of Kathleen Henry in an Anchorage hotel. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
The Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A man accused of killing a woman who was seen strangled in videos on a digital memory card was charged Thursday with the death of another woman, authorities in Alaska said.

Brian Steven Smith acknowledged to detectives that he was the man in the images and videos recovered from the card, according to a document filed by the state Department of Law. Smith, 48, also said he shot another woman and told police where he disposed of her body, the document states.

Anchorage police identified that woman as Veronica Abouchuk. Anchorage Police Chief Justin Doll told reporters Abouchuk's family reported her missing in February, but he said she had last been seen by them in July 2018.

A grand jury indicted Smith on Thursday on murder and evidence tampering charges in the death of Abouchuk. According to the bail memo, Alaska State Troopers earlier this year recovered a skull with a gunshot wound in an area near the location Smith later provided.

It was identified as Abouchuk, who was referred to by initials in the document.

Smith previously pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, sexual assault and tampering in the death of 30-year-old Kathleen Henry. According to police and court documents, a memory card found on the ground in Anchorage contained videos showing her being strangled and pictures of her lying face down in the back of a truck.

Smith's attorney, Dan Lowery, an assistant public defender, said earlier this week he does not comment on pending cases.

The Department of Law has asked that bond be set at $2 million.

The department said Smith poses a "significant public safety risk" and it considers him a flight risk. "After he committed each murder, he dumped the body along the side of a road like unwanted trash," the document states.

Smith came to Alaska from South Africa about five years ago and became a naturalized U.S. citizen last month, according to the bail memo. Police were tipped off to Smith after investigators recognized his unique accent on the videos from another investigation.


Bohrer reported from Juneau, Alaska.

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